Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Officials urge horse owners to vaccinate against West Nile virus

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa agriculture and health officials are warning that mosquitoes are still active in the state and are urging horse owners to have the animals vaccinated against West Nile virus.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and Iowa Department of Public Health said in a joint statement that mosquitoes can carry West Nile virus until the first hard freeze.

Officials say surveillance has shown a larger number of horses have been infected with West Nile virus this year, with more than 20 confirmed cases. Last year, Iowa only had one confirmed case in a horse.

West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus from an infected bird. The virus has flu-like symptoms.

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