MD Farmer: Vet Said "Put Down Horse Because She's Got West Nile" - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

MD Farmer: Vet Said "Put Down Horse Because She's Got West Nile"

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Courtesy: MD Department of Agriculture Courtesy: MD Department of Agriculture

WILLARDS, Md. - On Sunday night, a Wicomico County breeder says he saw his 17-month-old horse acting odd.

Jerry Nock took her to his local veterinarian, where he received some startling news. Nock owned sixteen horses until Monday after his vet ordered him to euthanize one filly because of a mosquito bite.

Nock says the "vet we talked to Sunday night said put her down, because she got [West Nile virus]."

This report comes just days after a horse in north Worcester County was also put down because of a mosquito bite. It was the first confirmed case of eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) found in a Maryland horse in more than four years.

According to Worcester Co. Health Department community health director Debra Stevens, "it's very much a public health concern"

"We don't want people to become ill with West Nile virus or EEE," Stevens says.

A map sent to WMDT by the Maryland Department of Agriculture shows where officials sprayed for mosquitoes on Friday. The first section is a 2,000-acre area in Whaleyville, Md. The second, a 4,000-acre area to the northeast of the first section near the Delaware border, where officials believe the EEE-infected horse was found.

"We've had a lot of rain," said Stevens. "We have mosquitoes in the area, so people need to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites."

Among those precautions, says Stevens, includes staying indoors during dawn and dusk.  If outdoors, to wear protective, long-sleeve shirts and long pants.  Also, to use mosquito repellant and to get rid of any standing water outside.

Just last week, health investigators discovered a mosquito pool, which tested positive for West Nile virus in Ocean Pines, Md.

Both West Nile and EEE can only be transmitted by mosquito, not person to person, from horse to human or vice versa. There is a vaccination for horses against EEE, but none for people. There is no cure for this disease.

Maryland health officials say they have not yet heard of the case in Wicomico County.

MDA officials say although ground spraying for mosquitoes will continue twice-a-week for the next two weeks, there will be no more aerial spraying in those two specified areas, unless they find another case of EEE. After two weeks, health officials will then decide what will be their next step.

The next ground spraying is scheduled to take place this Thursday before sunrise, weather permitting.

Last week, a sentinel chicken tested positive for EEE near Frankford, Del. in Sussex County. Two chickens tested positive for West Nile in the same county in July.

In Virginia, officials say there have been no positive cases of either disease thus far this year.  There have been positive pools of mosquitoes for both EEE and West Nile, according to Virginia Department of Health state public health entomologist David Gaines.  But Gaines says, they are down for West Nile, from 150 last year to 75 this year.

According to Gaines, EEE cases happen every "six to seven years, usually along the coast."

To view the story previously run on the EEE case in Worcester County and symptoms from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, see below:

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