First Equine Case of West Nile Virus in Kentucky

West Nile virus (WNV) has been identified in a horse in Kentucky for the first time this year, according to the Kentucky state Department of Agriculture’s Office of the State Veterinarian.

The Thoroughbred yearling colt from Fayette

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West Nile virus (WNV) has been identified in a horse in Kentucky for the first time this year, according to the Kentucky state Department of Agriculture’s Office of the State Veterinarian.


The Thoroughbred yearling colt from Fayette County died after being presented to an equine veterinary facility with acute incoordination and overstepping, said Rusty Ford, equine programs director in the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s Division of Animal Health. The University of Kentucky Livestock Disease Diagnostic Center made a diagnosis based on the animal demonstrating clinical signs of the disease, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test results indicating a positive WNV infection, and brain lesions suggesting a myeloencephalomyelitis, Ford said. No other horses on the premises have demonstrated neurological symptoms, he added.


“The wet spring we experienced established breeding grounds for mosquitoes, which transmit West Nile,” Agriculture Commissioner Billy Ray Smith pointed out. “We are not surprised to see the virus return to Kentucky, and we are working with farmers, public health officials and federal authorities to contain it.”


The horse reportedly had been vaccinated twice for WNV in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations, state veterinarian Dr. Don Notter said

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