West Nile Virus


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About the Virus

Clinical Signs

Diagnosis

Treatments

Prognosis

Prevention

Surveillance

Zoonotic Risk

Veterinarian's Role

Helpful Links

Definitions


Prevention


Protection from mosquito bites

It is essential to avoid mosquitos that might potentially infect humans and animals with West Nile virus.

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  1. Protecting horses and other animals
  • Avoid letting indoor pets out and keep large animals like horses in the barn or stables under fans during dusk, dawn and in the early evening which are peak mosquito biting times.
  • Turn off lights inside the stable during night time. If light is needed, place incandescent bulbs outside the stable to attract mosquitoes away from the animal.
  • Use mosquito traps in the barn
  • Use mosquito dunks in areas of standing water
  • Fog the stable premises during evenings
  • DEET containing products are not approved for pets. DO NOT use human insect repellents on animals. It may cause poisoning.
  • Consult veterinarians for recommendations of safe, effective mosquito repellents that may be used on pets.
  • Topical mosquito repellents are available for use on the horse

 2. Protecting yourself
  • Avoid outdoor activities during dusk, dawn, and in the early evening which are peak mosquito biting times
  • Wear long sleeved shirt and long pants
  • Turn off lights that attract mosquitoes at night
  • Use fluorescent lights, which do not attract mosquitoes
  • Install window and door screens and use mosquito netting
  • Apply insect repellent containing DEET (N,N-dethyl-meta-tolumamide) when going outside
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Controlling Mosquito Populations

Reducing mosquito populations by draining sources of standing water is important way to prevent West Nile virus transmission. In this way, the number of places mosquitoes can lay their eggs and breed is reduced.
  • Empty water from birdbaths, pet water bowls, children toys, flower pots, barrels,  and swimming pool covers
  • Remove any objects and containers that might hold even small pools of water like discarded tires, buckets, cans, and tarps
  • Clean out gutters
  • Cover rain barrels with mosquito screening or tightly seal around the downspout
  • Aerate ponds and put fish that eat mosquito larvae
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Vaccination

Currently there are two West Nile virus vaccines approved for use in horses in Canada.


The West Nile-Innovator is a killed Equine West Nile Virus vaccine produced by the Fort Dodge Animal Health (Wyeth). The vaccine is administered in two doses, 3-6 weeks apart. Horses need up to 4 weeks to develop immunity, so they must be vaccinated in advance of mosquito season. It is recommended to revaccinate annually in the spring with a single dose. The West Nile-Innovator vaccine is only available from a licensed practicing veterinarian.


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The Recombitek is an Equine West Nile Virus vaccine containing lyophilized recombinant canary-pox vectored WNV. It is manufactured by Merial. It has been suggested that the first dose of vaccine will induce immunity within 26 days, and the second dose might be necessary after 4-6 weeks. It is recommended to revaccinate every year in the spring with a single dose. The Recombitek is only available from a licensed practicing veterinarian.

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Unfortunately, there is no West Nile virus vaccine currently available for humans, pets and other animals.



Reporting Dead Birds

It is important to be alert and report unusual deaths in wild birds especially crows, magpies, blue jays and ravens during the spring and summer. Crow family birds are very sensitive to West Nile virus and have high death rates if infected. Thus, deaths of these birds in the area may indicate West Nile virus outbreak.

Please contact local authority for West Nile Virus Surveillance if you find a dead crow family bird in your area.

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References

Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Center: West Nile Virus Surveillance Program 2006.
http://wildlife1.usask.ca/en/west_nile_virus/wnv_home.php

Public Health Agency of Canada: West Nile Virus Overview
http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/wn-no/gen_e.html

UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine: Center for Companion Animal Health.
http://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/ccah/WNV.htm

Community Health Administration: West Nile Virus.
http://edcp.org/html/wn.html

Center for Disease Control: West Nile Virus.
http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/qa/prevention.htm

Public Health Agency of Canada: How to Protect Yourself & Your Family.
http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/wn-no/protect_e.html

Fort Dodge Animal Health: West Nile Innovator Vaccine.
http://www.equinewestnile.com/index.htm

Merial: Recombitek Equine Vaccine.
http://www.equinewnv.com/

Center for Disease Control: West Nile Virus Vaccine.
http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/qa/wnv_vaccine.htm

Center for Disease Control: West Nile Virus and Dogs and Cats
 http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/qa/wnv_dogs_cats.htm

Image References

City of Lafayette One Bite. One Life Changed Forever. Protect Yourself: http://www.cityoflafayette.com/Page.asp?NavID=853

West Nile Virus: http://www.west-nile-virus-prevention.com/preventative-measures.html

Fort Dodge Animal Health: West Nile Innovator Vaccine. http://www.equinewestnile.com/index.htm

Merial: Recombitek Equine Vaccine. http://www.equinewnv.com/

El Paso City-County Health and Environment District: http://www.elpasocitycountyhealth.com/environment/environment/Environment.asp

Montgomery County Maryland Department of Environmental Protection: http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/deptmpl.asp?url=/content/dep/mosquito/protection.asp

Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene: http://edcp.org/html/wn.html