Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

September 19, 2017
Horse from Erda tests positive for West Nile Virus

A local horse tested positive last week for West Nile Virus, according to a veterinarian.

Jon McCormick, DVM, of Tooele Veterinary Clinic in Tooele City, said he tested the horse on Sept. 9, and lab results came back on Wednesday that showed the horse has the virus.

“The horse right now is in supportive care and getting better. We treated it with the vaccine,” said McCormick. “When it came in it was losing strength and would fall down — couldn’t use its feet properly. We have the West Nile vaccine here at the clinic if people need it for their horses.”

The infected horse lives in Erda.

A spokesperson for the Tooele County Health Department said on Monday the health department had not received a report from the state about a horse with West Nile in the county.

McCormick has worked as a veterinarian in Tooele for 3-and-one-half years and said this is the first horse he has seen with the virus.

Blood tests taken last month from sentinel chickens in Stansbury Park and Lake Point showed no West Nile present in local mosquito populations.

“None of the chickens tested positive,” said Scott Bradshaw, Tooele Valley Mosquito Abatement district manager.

However, health departments in Salt Lake, Utah and Box Elder counties have reported finding mosquitoes with West Nile during the months of July and August, according to reports.

“The last time we found West Nile in one of our chickens was back in 2015,” Bradshaw said.

Two horses in Carbon County and two horses in Utah County contracted West Nile virus this year, according to the latest report from the Utah Department of Health on Sept. 9.

The report also showed 14 human cases of West Nile infection in Salt Lake County, three in Davis County, three in Utah County, one in Duchesne County and one in Uintah County.

The virus has been found in 378 mosquitoes statewide this year, but in no mosquitoes in Tooele County.

The virus is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. The culex tarsalis mosquito carries the virus, according to Bradshaw.

He said mosquito repellent is the best way to prevent from being bitten by mosquitoes that may be carrying the virus. Long-sleeved shirts and pants can also prevent bites.

A football coach at Hillcrest High School died in August after contracting West Nile, according to media reports.

Symptoms of West Nile include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors, seizure or paralysis, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Recovery can take several weeks or months, with some possible permanent neurologic effects. About 10 percent of people who develop neurologic infection from West Nile Virus die, according to the CDC.

Mark Watson

Sports Editor at Tooele Transcript Bulletin
Mark directs all editorial coverage of sports in addition to reporting on a wide range of events from high school football to international racing. He has a wealth of journalism experience, having worked for four other newspapers in the state. Mark grew up in Tooele County and graduated from Grantsville High School and Brigham Young University.

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