August 26, 2014 - 7:30 PM
THOMPSON-OKANAGAN – The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association's report of the West Nile Virus present in two horses within the Cache Creek area is currently being verified by the Ministry of Agriculture.
Information obtained from the Ministry on Tuesday states officials are following up with veterinarians who have tested the horses' blood for the virus and confirmed positive findings Monday.
“In order for the virus to be confirmed under provincial, federal and international definitions, either the virus itself must be identified (brain tissue sample following the animal’s death) or at least one of a variety of tests must be conducted to assess changes in the level of antibodies,” says the release.
In addition to blood sample results, veterinarians with the association noticed the horses exhibiting symptoms of infection; hind leg paralysis, facial twitching and general weakness. Dr. John Twidale who is chair of the association's equine division said Monday afternoon one of the horses is in recovery while the second will likely be destroyed.
If and when the Ministry confirms the horses suffer from conditions related to West Nile, it will report findings to separate government agencies such as the B.C. Centre for Disease Control and Interior Health Authority.
While the association states the horses’ infection is the first confirmed case in the province, the Ministry says there have been isolated reports of the West Nile Virus in mosquito pools, birds and horses throughout B.C. since 2007.
Information found on the B.C. Centre for Disease Control website says between July 2 and August 19 of this year, a total of 17,120 blood samples were collected to test for the virus. None of the tested blood returned a positive result.
There have been 25 B.C. residents who have tested positive for the virus from 2007 to 2014. Twenty-one of those cases were considered to be travel related. The virus is spread through blood carried by mosquitos. Recommended prevention methods include wearing long sleeves and bug sprays containing DEET.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014