Mosquito virus risk in horses
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.