West Nile virus found in horse in northeast Kansas, agriculture department says

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MANHATTAN, Kan. — A horse in Shawnee County, Kansas is confirmed to have a case of West Nile virus, according to the Kansas Department of Agriculture Division of Animal Health.

Kansas Animal Health Commissioner Justin Smith said West Nile virus is a preventable disease and they know that annual vaccinations have proven highly effective for horses.

“Unfortunately, the infected animal had not been vaccinated for this virus,” Smith said. “We strongly encourage all horse owners to consult with your local veterinarian and make a vaccination plan for your horses.”

West Nile is a virus that can infect humans, horses, birds and other species. Horses infected with the virus can have symptoms that range from depression, loss of appetite and fever to severe neurologic signs such as incoordination, weakness, inability to rise, and hypersensitivity to touch or sound.

The Department of Agriculture said the virus can be deadly in horses. The department says if you see symptoms of West Nile virus in your horse, contact your veterinarian immediately.

The virus is carried and transmitted by mosquitoes; although both horses and humans are susceptible, it is not directly contagious from horse to horse or from horse to human.

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