On Friday, two cases of West Nile Virus (WNV) were confirmed by the Kentucky State Veterinarian’s office. One is a 5-year-old racking horse mare fin Barren County and the second a 11-year-old Quarter Horse mare in Hardin County, according to a Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC) notice.

Beautiful horses
Public domain image/Dusan Bicanski

Initial onset for both horses was Aug. 22. There is no history of WNV vaccination for either horse. Both horses are alive and improving.

West Nile Virus is regularly found in the United States, and birds serve as the primary host of the disease. Infected mosquitoes can transmit the virus from birds and then carry it to horses or people. The virus can cause encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. Infected horses may or may not show neurological symptoms and many recover completely, especially with annual vaccinations.

Vaccines for horses are widely available and have been proven to be effective in preventing infection.