NAVAJO NATION PRESS RELEASE:
The Navajo Veterinary & Livestock Program is encouraging horse owners to make sure that their horses are vaccinated against West Nile Virus. West Nile vaccinations should be an annual vaccination along with your spring 5-way vaccination and deworming schedule especially since WNV is endemic (naturally in the environment) since it arrived to the Navajo Nation in 2003. West Nile, the disease, is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito carrying the virus, which may develop into a brain inflammation disease in humans, horses and birds.
Presently, the Navajo Nation has one (1) area of where a positive horse has been confirmed with the West Nile Virus: the Chinle Valley. This animal was never vaccinated against West Nile. The animal began showing signs of the disease on July 21, the disease progressed until the horse was unable to balance and was euthanized at the Chinle Veterinary Clinic, July 23, 2013. Laboratory confirmation of West Nile virus was received August 1, 2013.
The NNVLP urges the public to take precautions against the bite of mosquitoes; once again the “Fight the Bite” prevention for people and horses is stressed. Prevent mosquitoes from breeding by decreasing standing water around your home and stables. Use insect repellants to prevent bites to horses and make sure all horses have WNV vaccinations in place. People should utilize your DEET products to prevent mosquito bites and limit early morning and evening hours outside when mosquito activity is the highest; wear protective clothing if you need to be outside during these times.
For additional information to protect yourself from West Nile contact:
- Division of Health – Health Education Program (928) 871-7967
- Community Health Representative Program (928) 729-4027