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West Nile virus causes Kandiyohi County horse’s death

Image courtesy USDA

The Minnesota Board of Animal Health on Friday announced Minnesota’s first case of West Nile virus for 2022 in a Kandiyohi County horse.

In late July, an unvaccinated 4-year-old Quarter Horse mare from Kandiyohi County was euthanized due to deteriorating neurologic conditions. Test results were positive for West Nile virus. More than 30 other horses are boarded at the same facility. The owner reports they’re all current on their West Nile virus vaccinations and appear healthy at this time. Infected horses cannot spread the virus to people or other horses.

West Nile virus is regularly found in the U.S. and birds serve as the primary host of the disease. The virus circulates between infected birds and mosquitoes. Once infected, the mosquitoes can transmit the virus to horses or people. Infected horses cannot spread the virus to people or other horses.

The virus can cause inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. Infected horses may or may not show neurological symptoms and may recover completely, especially those who have a history of annual vaccination.

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