Oregon Reports One Horse Infected With West Nile Virus

Aug 24, 2012

A horse in Klamath County has tested positive for West Nile virus. It’s the first reported case in a mammal in Oregon this year. Amelia Templeton of Earthfix reports.

West Nile Virus is carried by mosquitos and flares up in the summer and fall. The U.S. is in the middle of a particularly severe outbreak: West Nile has infected more than 1000 people, and killed 41, mostly in Texas.

So far, the outbreak has been minimal in the Northwest. No cases in Washington. A couple in Idaho.

Oregon health officials haven’t confirmed any human cases. But the virus has killed one horse.

Brad LeaMaster, the state veterinarian, says there isn’t a vaccine against West Nile for humans. But there is a vaccine that protects horses.

LeaMaster: “If the horse hasn’t had that yearly booster, than it’s still not too late to get that vaccine and increase their protection for their horse.”

People can minimize the risk of contracting West Nile by removing standing water around their homes and avoiding mosquito bites.

Copyright 2012 Northwest Public Radio