West Nile Case Confirmed in Kentucky

Kentucky has reported its first West Nile virus case of 2009.

by Erin Ryder

Kentucky agriculture officials said Sept. 18 that a 9-year-old Saddlebred gelding has been confirmed positive for West Nile virus. It's the first WNV case in the state so far this year.

The affected horse lives in Christian County in the southwest portion of the state. According to a statement released by the Kentucky State Veterinarian's Office, the horse started showing clinical signs Sept. 5. It had not been vaccinated.

As of Sept. 17, the horse was alive and "continues to improve with some mild rear limb ataxia remaining apparent," the statement noted.

Horses are a dead-end host for WNV; the virus does not spread from horse to horse, or to other animals, including humans.

West Nile virus first appeared in North America in 1999 and has spread steadily across the country. To learn more about WNV, watch a Webinar on Understanding West Nile Virus courtesy of The Horse.