Logo West Nile Virus (WNV)
Things that YOU need to know about WNV:

West Nile Virus was first detected in 1937. It wasn't along the Nile River, but eventully it did make it's way to at least the west bank of that river. WNV is a bird disease of the Corvidae family of birds, which include: Ravens, Black Birds, Magpies, Crows and members of the Jay family. Out of 287 bird species only 7 are affected by WNV. If you see a lot of these dead birds, your area has the virus! Mosquitos bite infected birds and then bite other creatures to transmit the virus.

Out of 43 Mosquito species only 2 typically bite both birds and humans/mammals. Out of that only 1.0% of the mosquitos are infected. So the bottom line is 2% species of birds carry the virus and only 0.5% of the mosquito species transmit the virus. One would say your chances are pretty slim on getitng WNV.

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In humans it's usually detected early because we can recognize the symptoms earlier. In other mamals it's hard to ask questions of an alpaca, "How do you feel today?" or "Where does it hurt?". Instead we have to look for outside symptoms. Like hanging head, not eating, laying around, shaking head, stumbling around, colic, very low grade fever, abnormal head posture, depression, muscle tremors in the face, a swan neck. Best to treat is while in the early stages. Virus reaching to the mid-stages are usually fatal.

WNV does not attack genetic DNA. You can't have genetic defects because of WNV.

Other animals can transmit WNV. Ticks, swallow bugs, if an animal eats an infected animal with WNV, they will get the virus. Dogs, coyotes, foxes, cats, etc. can be infected this way.
Because of the nature of the virus it is virtually impossible for a human to transmit the virus to another human. Mammals can get infected by eating other infected mammals.
Around here (Eastern Colorado - Front Range) the mosquitos begin their biting birds and mamals around early to mid July and continue to November.

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Best time to vaccinate is early June.
There are two types of vaccines: Fort Dodge and Merial Recomitek WNV
The Ft. Dodge you need three shots, 1cc each to each animal every 3-4 wks.
The Murial you need two shots, 1cc to each animal every 3-4 wks.
Shots are given IM.
Eventually we all will become immune to the virus (unless you've been living totally in a mosquite free environment for the last 3 years).
Visit the web sites at the bottom of this page and through the use of statistical charts from multiple years you can see we are all becoming immune to the WNV.... at least this strain of it.

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Other interesting facts:
90% of horses that have been exposed to the virus never show symptoms.
It is estimated that 95-99% of all alpacas that have been exposed to the virus never show symptoms.
80% of humans that have been exposed to the virus never show symptoms.
Less that 1% that are bitten ever get severly ill because of the virus.
Less that .1% of humans die because of it.
40% of horses (from the 10% above) will die.
Other mamals are less.
Horses are more likely to get the virus than any other animal.
Chickens are able to be infected as well. But don't transmit it to other species.
With chickens you need a mosquito that like to bite both birds (of course) and chickens... and have the virus. I've been told there are fewer of them than the ones we have to worry about.

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Treatments for WNV:
DMSO
Steriods
Force feed if need be.
Transfusion of plasma. (Triple J Farms carries a good supply of WNV treated plasma on hand at all times.)
Banamine
Anti-Inflammatory agents
IV fluids.
(You must reduce swelling in the brain.)
Yes, you can test to see if your animal has the virus. It'll take about 4 days to get results. The animal can be dead in less time if you wait until you get results before treating.

"It is a thousand times better to have common sense without education than to have education without common sense." ...Robert Green Ingersoll

LINKS:
Colorado Dept of Public Health and Environment

Fight-The-Bite-Colorado
CDC: West Nile Virus - Statistics, Surveillance, and Control
CDC: West Nile Page

Need to order the WNV Vaccines? Vet prescriptions are no longer required (in most states). May I reccomend: The Agri-Med site.
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