Horse tests positive for West Nile Virus in Columbiana County

LISBON, Ohio (WYTV) – The Columbiana County Health Department says a horse in East Rochester has tested positive for the West Nile Virus.

The 18-year-old Thoroughbred mare had to be euthanized after showing signs of the virus on September 4.

It was the 11th horse in Ohio that has tested positive for West Nile Virus.

There have been no human cases of the virus recorded in Columbiana County yet, but the Health Department says it’s important for people to protect themselves against mosquito-borne illnesses.

The Health Department recommended taking the following steps:

  • Wear protective clothing such as long sleeves and long pants when outdoors.
  • Wear mosquito repellents that contain EPA-registered active ingredients such as DEET, picaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, or IR3535. Children should use products that have no more than 10 percent  DEET.
  • Keep window and door screens closed and in good repair to keep mosquitoes out of your house.
  • Empty standing water from flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, pet water dishes, discarded tires and birdbaths.
  • Containers that fill with water should be emptied at least once a week.
  • Change the water in birdbaths every week.
  • Keep rain gutters clean.
  • Fix outdoor leaking faucets.
  • Clean ditches so water can flow.
  • Fill holes that hold water with gravel or dirt.
  • Consider using products containing Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bti), available at many garden and home improvement stores, to control mosquito larvae in containers that are too large to empty. Follow the label instructions

Most people infected with mosquito-borne viruses show no systems, however, people over 50 years of age and children under the age of 16 are more likely to develop severe illness from the disease. Symptoms to look for are body aches, fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, confusion, weakness, stiffness and convulsions.

Coma and paralysis occur in some cases, and the virus can be fatal.

There is a vaccine to prevent horses from the virus.

For more information, visit the Columbiana County Health Department’s website.