New Jersey horse with West Nile virus is put down
West Nile virus is a disease that is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito infected. When horses contract the illness, their neurological systems are affected.
The horse, a 10-year-old gelding, first showed signs of illness on Sept. 27. This is the first equine case of West Nile virus that has been reported in the state for 2015.
Horses can also contract eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) from mosquitoes. EEE causes the brain tissue to inflame. EEE has a notably higher chance of causing death in horses than West Nile virus. In 2015, Gloucester County reported one EEE case, which was located in Camden County; last year, New Jersey confirmed four EEE cases.
Effective vaccines for both of these horse illnesses are available, and horse owners should contact their vet if their horses have not received their latest vaccinations.
"Vaccinated animals are much less likely to contract deadly diseases, such as West Nile virus," New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas Fisher said. "We urge horse owners to be vigilant in vaccinating their animals against diseases spread by mosquitoes."