Horse near Saratoga contracts West Nile Virus

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The Saratogian confirms a horse in Northumberland, NY has contracted West Nile Virus. Mosquitoes, which transmit the disease from infected birds to horses and people, carry the highest amounts of the virus in the early fall, states The Saratogian. This explains why the rate of West Nile Virus increases from late August to early September. The risk of disease decreases as the weather becomes colder and mosquitoes die off.

“While these diseases can be fatal among horses, they are also largely preventable,” said Darrel Aubertine, state commissioner of Agriculture and Markets. “I encourage all horse owners in the state to act responsibly and make sure your horses receive proper vaccinations.

Few people bitten by mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus develop severe forms of the disease and might not have any symptoms at all. Symptoms in mild cases known as West Nile fever include abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, headache and lack of appetite. Severe forms can be life-threatening.

In horses, clinical signs include lethargy, weakness in the hind quarters, stumbling, lack of awareness, head tilt and head twitching, convulsions, circling, partial paralysis and coma. Joe McMahon, owner of McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds LLC, said vaccinations are standard practice at his farm.

Other prevention methods include eliminating breeding sites for mosquitoes like standing water, using insect repellents and removing animals from mosquito-infested areas during peak biting times, usually from dusk to dawn.

The first case of West Nile Virus was confirmed earlier this month in Albany County. There is no human vaccine for either disease. Humans should reduce contact with mosquitoes. Wearing protective clothing and insect repellents, and avoiding the outdoors during dawn and dusk are all ways to avoid mosquito bites.

The risk of mosquitoes in Saratoga and surrounding areas is real! With cases of West Nile increasing it is important to protect your family, health and property. Our mosquito tips above will help reduce mosquito breeding areas in and around your property. To learn more about Thomas Pest Services and our green mosquito service headed over to our website and fill out our contact form to learn how Thomas Pest can assist with your mosquito problem.

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