Saturday, August 25, 2012

West Nile Encephalitis

From the Maryland One Health Bulletin: First Confirmed West Nile Virus in Maryland West Nile virus (WNV) infection has been detected in humans and mosquitoes in Maryland. To date, five human cases have been reported in multiple Maryland counties. One pool of mosquitoes from Worcester County collected by the MDA and two pools in Montgomery County collected by the U.S. Department of Defense tested positive for WNV infection. Positive mosquito pools have also been detected in neighboring Washington, DC and Virginia. Because WNV is endemic in Maryland wildlife, birds are no longer routinely tested for WNV in the State; however, sick or injured birds can be reported to a local wildlife rehabilitator, which can be found on the DNR web site. Instructions on what to do when you find a sick or dead bird can be found on the DHMH web site. Veterinarians are reminded that equine neurologic syndromes and any of the equine encephalitides are reportable to MDA Animal Health and that equine arboviral testing is available at the DHMH Laboratories Administration. Veterinarians are reminded to vaccinate horses against WNV, Eastern equine encephalitis and rabies. Nationally, 693 human cases have been reported from 32 states, the highest number reported through the 2nd week of August since WNV was first detected in the US in 1999. Over 80% of the cases have been reported from six states (Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and California) and almost half were from Texas. Comment: So far, touch wood, there have been no equine cases reported in Maryland. Owner compliance with vaccination has been good and I feel that this has made a big difference. At present I am recommending a yearly booster after the primary series.