Protect horses against West Nile Virus ahead of mosquito season

The NDA monitors West Niles Virus for the protection of public health


Ciara Ressel
Public Information Officer
SPARKS, Nev. - April 27, 2023

The Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDA) reminds horse owners in Nevada of the importance of vaccinating against West Nile Virus (WNV). This mosquito-borne disease can cause serious illness targeting a horse’s brain, spinal cord and nervous system.  The disease can also be transmitted to humans from infected mosquitos.

The NDA monitors WNV and other diseases carried by mosquitos throughout the state to ensure the protection of public health and the agriculture industry.

“The NDA tests sample pools of mosquitos throughout Nevada to monitor for diseases like WNV,” Laura Morrow, Animal Disease Laboratory Supervisor, said. “The Animal Disease Laboratory surveys and tests for these diseases and reports the results to local health departments and vector control agencies.”

Taking precautions such as using insect repellents, eliminating mosquito-breeding sites including standing water, and keeping horses vaccinated against WNV and Equine Encephalitis is strongly encouraged for all horse owners.

NDA Director J.J Goicoechea, DVM, encourages horse owners to work with their veterinarian to develop effective management plan, which should include vaccination of animals. Timely vaccination and decreasing possible exposure to mosquitos is an effective way to prevent mosquito-borne diseases.

“Eliminating unnecessary standing water around barns and residences along with the use of deterrents can help keep mosquitos away from people and animals,” said NDA Director Goicoechea.

WNV and Equine Encephalitis have been detected in Nevada, all of which can cause significant illness and death in both horses and humans. WNV and Equine Encephalitis are reportable diseases in Nevada meaning that detections must be reported to the NDA.

About the Nevada Department of Agriculture

The Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDA) mission is to preserve, protect and promote Nevada’s agriculture. The department has 225 dedicated employees providing services in its five divisions, Administrative Services, Animal Industry, Measurement Standards, Food and Nutrition, and Plant Health and Compliance. The department’s $288 million budget facilitates regulatory and administrative work in agriculture and food manufacturing industries, protecting public and environmental health and worker safety, and providing food distribution and oversight for the United States Department of Agriculture’s school and community nutrition programs.