USDA Takes Action On West Nile Virus

According to a USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service press release from Oct. 13, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is taking several steps to ensure that the West Nile virus (WNV) does not have a detrimental effect

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According to a USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service press release from Oct. 13, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is taking several steps to ensure that the West Nile virus (WNV) does not have a detrimental effect on American agriculture. The veterinary services program of USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is developing a diagnostic test for the virus, a surveillance program for horses, and conducting inoculation studies to determine the effects of West Nile virus on U.S. poultry and horses.


“The mission of APHIS is to protect American agriculture from foreign pests or diseases and that is what veterinary services is trying to do,” said Michael V. Dunn, USDA’s under secretary for marketing and regulatory programs.


Veterinary services is particularly concerned about the potential effect of WNV on horses since scientific literature indicates that horses are a susceptible species. A 1996 report from Morocco indicated 40 percent mortality in horses infected with WNV.


Preventing exposure of horses to mosquitoes is essential. No vaccine is available for WNV. Horses should be stabled inside during normal mosquito feeding times (dusk and dawn). Insect repellents are recommended

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Written by:

Stephanie L. Church, Editorial Director, grew up riding and caring for her family’s horses in Central Virginia and received a B.A. in journalism and equestrian studies from Averett University. She joined The Horse in 1999 and has led the editorial team since 2010. A 4-H and Pony Club graduate, she enjoys dressage, eventing, and trail riding with her former graded-stakes-winning Thoroughbred gelding, It Happened Again (“Happy”). Stephanie and Happy are based in Lexington, Kentucky.

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