March 20, 2018

First case West Nile Virus diagnosed in St. Tammany Parish this year

11 August 2017, 03:40 | Winifred Adams

West Nile virus found in Mitchell

West Nile Virus - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

More West Nile virus activity has been reported in Contra Costa County with the confirmation today of a dead bird in Walnut Creek and a group of mosquitoes in Byron testing positive for the virus.

The first batch of the year that tested positive was collected June 20 from a Lake in the Hills trap. Horse owners should also consult their private practicing veterinarian to determine an appropriate disease prevention plan for their horses. It is reported to have coordination problems with its rear legs and muscle tremors, but is improving, according to the department.

It's unknown whether the horse was infected at home or while traveling, said Mike Louisell, spokesman for the department. Birds are often the first sign of disease transmission.

So far in Ontario this year, there have been four probable or confirmed human cases of West Nile virus. Of those, seven horses died or were euthanized.

There's been at least one other case of West Nile virus in California this year. Spokane County had eight cases, the most of any county in the state.

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Spring is the best time to vaccinate horses, but vaccines can still be effective now.

Health officials warn people to avoid the insects, check for holes in window screens, wear mosquito repellent and dump out standing water in yards where mosquitoes might breed.

Mosquito fish, which look like drab guppies, are available for free at the district's headquarters at 155 Mason Circle in Concord; they can be put into ornamental ponds, horse troughs or neglected swimming pools, where they eat the aquatic mosquito larvae.

"This is one of those risks that is very well-tracked", he said.

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