West Nile Virus Confirmed in Horse in Shawnee County

The Kansas Department of Agriculture Division of Animal Health has received notification of a confirmed case of West Nile virus (WNV) in a horse in Shawnee County.

The Kansas Department of Agriculture Division of Animal Health has received notification of a confirmed case of West Nile virus (WNV) in a horse in Shawnee County.

“West Nile virus is a preventable disease, and we know that annual vaccinations have proven highly effective for horses,” said Kansas Animal Health Commissioner Justin Smith. “Unfortunately, the infected animal had not been vaccinated for this virus. We strongly encourage all horse owners to consult with your local veterinarian and make a vaccination plan for your horses.”

WNV is a virus that can infect humans, horses, birds and other species. Horses infected with WNV can have symptoms that range from depression, loss of appetite and fever to severe neurologic signs such as incoordination, weakness, inability to rise, and hypersensitivity to touch or sound. WNV can be fatal in horses. If you see symptoms of WNV in your horse, contact your veterinarian immediately.

The virus is carried and transmitted by mosquitoes; although both horses and humans are susceptible, it is not directly contagious from horse to horse or from horse to human. Horse owners should work diligently to reduce the mosquito populations and their possible breeding areas, including removing stagnant water sources and using mosquito repellents. WNV is a reportable disease in Kansas, which means the law requires any confirmed case must be reported to the KDA Division of Animal Health.

For more information about West Nile virus or other animal disease issues in Kansas, go to the KDA Division of Animal Health website at www.agriculture.ks.gov/AnimalDiseases. Information about WNV risk for humans can be found on the Kansas Department of Health and Environment website at www.kdheks.gov/epi/arboviral_disease.htm

STATEMENT REGARDING COVID-19

KDA offices are open to the public, with the following practices in place to protect the health of staff and visitors. 

  • All staff and visitors are required to wear face coverings in public areas of the building.
  • Social distancing should be maintained while in the building.
  • Many meetings continue to be held as online meetings or conference calls.

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Click here to view the Equine Disposal Guidance document.

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Hunters: click here to view a basic video on sample collection

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History

Through consolidation of the Livestock Sanitary Commission and the State Brand Commission in 1969, the Kansas Division of Animal Health (DAH) was created. Currently there are three programs that make up the DAH - Animal Disease Control, Animal Facilities Inspection, Brands Program - all of which work to ensure the health and welfare of Kansas livestock and domestic animals. The DAH works in conjunction with two essential boards: the Animal Health Board and the Pet Animal Advisory Board. In 2011, the DAH joined with the Kansas Department of Agriculture, and in 2014 relocated to Manhattan, Kansas.