Sunday, October 06, 2002

Ohio horses with W. Nile virus up fourfold

The Associated Press

        COLUMBUS - The number of Ohio horses infected by the West Nile virus has increased more than fourfold in less than a month.

        Ohio Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Melanie Wit said that as of Friday, 524 horses in as many as 76 Ohio counties had the virus. Three weeks ago, 101 had it.

        Holmes County had 114 cases and Wayne County had 80. Agriculture officials said that was largely because of nearby Killbuck Marsh, an ideal home for mosquitoes.

        Dave Glauer, Ohio's state veterinarian, said that just because an animal tests positive for West Nile doesn't mean it's about to die. About 30 percent of infected animals die of the virus, which causes swelling of the brain.

        “The key is to notice any type of unexplained lameness,” he said.

        Among humans, Ohio has five confirmed cases and 307 probable cases of the virus, and it's suspected in 14 deaths, the state Health Department said Friday.

        The number of horses infected with the mosquito-borne virus has increased dramatically this year. Last year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported 738 equine cases in 20 states. This year, at least 7,462 horses have it.

        Dr. Glauer said owners who notice a horse is having trouble balancing, seems depressed or is not eating should immediately consult a veterinarian.

        Heidi Immegart, a veterinarian who serves the Delaware County area, said most cases of West Nile found in horses manifest themselves before that. When a horse continually twitches around the muzzle and chin, that's usually a good indication it's been infected. The virus can progress quickly, downing horses sometimes in 48 hours.

        West Nile, although it is not contagious, is treated in horses the same way people are treated for the flu.

        “You take an aspirin and get plenty of rest,” Dr. Glauer said.

        A vaccine for the virus has been available for horses since August.

        So far only three vaccinated horses in Ohio have been infected by the virus.


'Heart of America' full of questions
Teen volunteer to meet Bush
Special Report: Cincinnati's dental crisis
Where to call for emergency dental care
Goodall follows exhibit back to city
'Battle of Perryville' brings war home to re-enactors
Casino closes under penalty
PULFER: How to win race for time
SMITH-AMOS: Different city, familiar questions
BRONSON: A list of lesser gods we can control
Stakes rise in proficiency tests
Armed Thriftway robber flees with cash
Avondale man found shot to death
Death investigation continues in Norwood
Former loan officer accused of using others' IDs
Good News: Thanking firefighters and police
Homeowner struggles with armed intruders
LaRosa's estimates lost calls at 15,000
Stabbing victim, 75, released from hospital
Butler, Warren to celebrate bicentennials
Growing church prepares for more
Health board moving beyond the pill
Arrest made in Pendleton stabbing
Monday is deadline for voter signup
- Ohio horses with W. Nile virus up fourfold
12 to join Ohio's honored women
Lawrenceburg man shot to death