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Health, Science and Environment

Case of West Nile found in Gratiot County horse

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The first case of West Nile Virus in horses has been discovered in Gratiot County.

Officials with the Michigan Department of Agriculture confirmed a case of West Nile in an unvaccinated 6-year old Mare in Gratiot County.

Jennifer Holton is the Communications Director for the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

“Well West Nile virus is transmitted by mosquitoes so as we all know from being in Michigan cases typically can be seen between July and October when we have peak mosquito activity.”

Holton says the horse has been euthanized. She said horses should be vaccinated, but there are others ways to protect your animals.

“You can apply insect repellent, you can eliminate standing water, you can bring animals in from early evening until after sunrise when the mosquitos are out in full force. Very similar to what you would do to protect yourself from mosquito bites you can do for your animals.”

Horses cannot spread West Nile Virus to humans but humans are susceptible to mosquitos carrying the disease.

According to a MDA report one third of horses that develop West Nile have symptoms serious enough to require euthanasia.