The coronavirus is not the only contagion Carson Valley residents should be concerned about.
West Nile virus can have serious consequences for people and can kill an unvaccinated horse. There is no vaccine for people, but there is one for horses.
This mosquito-borne disease can cause serious illness targeting a horse’s brain, spinal cord and nervous system. The disease can also be transmitted to humans from infected mosquitos.
“Statewide testing of mosquito sample pools is essential in monitoring diseases like WNV,” Animal Disease Laboratory Supervisor Laura Morrow said. “The Animal Disease Laboratory surveys and tests for these diseases and reports the results to local health departments and vector control agencies.”
Taking precautions such as using insect repellents, eliminating mosquito-breeding sites and keeping horses vaccinated is strongly encouraged for all horse owners.
State Veterinarian Dr. Amy Mitchell urges horse owners to consult with their veterinarian about an effective management plan, which should include vaccination. Timely vaccination and decreasing exposure to mosquitos is an effective way to prevent mosquito-borne diseases.
“Preventing mosquito borne disease is a two-pronged approach,” said Dr. Mitchell. “Vaccination is extremely effective, but reducing exposure is also key. The use of deterrents, in addition to eliminating unnecessary standing water around barns and residences is extremely beneficial in keeping mosquitos away from you and your horse.”
Coronavirus vaccinations are being urged for people.
Last week, 80 people were vaccinated against the coronavirus at the Douglas County Senior Center on Thursday and another 60 were tested, according to Carson Valley Health and Human Services.
As of Thursday, Douglas had 179 active cases of the virus, up from 124 on Aug. 5 and 74 on July 29. The chief health agency for Douglas County reported 72 recoveries in the past 13 days.
Nearly 52 percent of Douglas County’s population over the age of 12 years has been vaccinated against the virus.