State officials say not a single case of West Nile Virus has been detected in horses yet this year. State Veterinarian John Schiltz says the lack of West Nile in horses is probably due good vaccination of the animals. He says the vaccine is predominantly the reason why, as two years ago we had huge numbers of West Nile cases in horses, and last year that was significantly reduced. Schiltz says horse owners have responded to the threat.He says horse owners have just incorporated the West Nile vaccine right into their regular annual program along with their tetanus shot and everything else. While there’s a vaccine for horses, Schiltz isn’t sure why one hasn’t been developed for humans. He says you do see vaccines which are both for animals and humans for similar diseases, but he says there’s not one in this case. He says he doesn’t know the problems with transferring the technology to humans. Schiltz says horses face more of a risk from West Nile than other animals. He says one-third of horses die when infected with the disease, while it doesn’t seem to be as virulent in other animals. West Nile Virus has been detected in birds in eight Iowa counties thus far this year.
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