Iron County Horse Tests Positive for West Nile Virus

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CEDAR CITY – The Southwest Public Health Department has just confirmed a case of the West Nile Virus in an Iron County horse. The case comes at a peak mosquito spawning time, which has caused some concern for health officials.

“In 2005 we saw a surge in West Nile Virus cases,” says Lisa Starr, SWUPHD Surveillance Nurse. “Many of the human cases were severe and had lasting health effects. Since then West Nile Virus activity has decreased and we want to keep it that way by keeping mosquitoes in check.”

Animals and humans are infected by West Nile Virus through the bite of some mosquito species, and while there is no danger of infection from horse to human, people should take protective measures when mosquitoes are active.

West Nile Virus symptoms in horses include facial paralysis that progresses to paralysis of the hind legs. Human symptoms include fever, headache, body aches, rash, and may progress to neurological illness. 

Some ways you can prevent mosquito bites are:

•    Emptying standing water on your property
•    Avoiding being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active (dusk and dawn hours)
•    Wearing recommended repellent (containing DEET or picaridin)