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Mosquito Diseases & Control

 

Mosquitoes have been in high numbers recently, as any of you that have gone outside/out to your barn/pasture recently already know. Fortunately we haven’t seen the Zika virus in our area yet, but there have been some cases of West Nile Virus (WNV) and of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) reported in non-vaccinated horses in northern WI in the last month. Also, a bird near Delevan, WI was recently found to have WNV. Hopefully your horses have already been vaccinated for these mosquito-spread diseases that cause neurologic signs & sometimes death (33% mortality rate for WNV & often 100% mortality rate for EEE!) Mosquitoes can also spread these diseases to people. Vaccination of your horses is very effective to prevent WNV and EEE in horses. The initial vaccination requires a series of 2 vaccines, given about 3-4 weeks apart. Thereafter, an annual booster is recommended. Mosquito control is also important for disease control as well as to prevent the annoying buggers from biting/irritating our horses, our pets and ourselves! Hard to imagine thinking about hoping for cold weather & a killing frost, but the latter is what will eventually subdue these blood-thirsty little bugs, at least for this year. In the mean-time, here are important considerations to control mosquitoes: -mosquitoes can breed in standing water that lasts for more than 4 days -remove sources where water can collect as much as possible (may be difficult, but especially a factor with all of the rain we’ve had lately) -minimize the number of lights turned on at night- especially near stables/barns for your horses & near your house for you/your pet -mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn- -use mosquito repellents according to label directions -spray areas in environment according to label directions & with appropriate precautions Here is a link for more information on WNV in horses from Pennsylvania’s West Nile Control Program website: http://www.westnile.state.pa.us/animals/horses.htm. From CDC to prevent mosquito bites in people: http://www.cdc.gov/zika/prevention/prevent-mosquito-bites.html From CDC to control WNV in people: http://www.cdc.gov/westnile/prevention/index.html