Mos­quito virus risk in horses

Warwick Daily News - South West Queensland Rural Weekly - - News -

HORSE own­ers are urged to be aware of the po­ten­tial for mos­quito-borne viruses to cause ill­ness in horses fol­low­ing the de­tec­tion of Kun­jin virus in mos­qui­toes in the Cen­tral High­lands area.

The iden­ti­fi­ca­tion was made as part of a rou­tine sur­veil­lance pro­gram run by Queens­land Health.

Kun­jin virus is en­demic in parts of Aus­tralia and can cause dis­ease in hu­mans and horses spread by an in­fected mos­quito. Clin­i­cal signs in horses in­clude re­luc­tance to move, de­pres­sion and neu­ro­log­i­cal signs such as stum­bling, in­co­or­di­na­tion and fa­cial paral­y­sis.

Most clin­i­cal cases re­cover grad­u­ally over one to three weeks. How­ever, ap­prox­i­mately 10 per cent of af­fected horses will die or be eu­thanased for wel­fare rea­sons.

Horse own­ers can re­duce the ex­po­sure of their an­i­mals to in­sect bites by rug­ging, us­ing fly masks and re­mov­ing sources of stag­nant wa­ter.

It is im­por­tant to con­sider Hen­dra virus in­fec­tion in horses show­ing neu­ro­log­i­cal signs and im­ple­ment strin­gent biose­cu­rity and hy­giene mea­sures when deal­ing with sick horses. Horse own­ers should contact their pri­vate vet if their horse is un­well.

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