COUNTY ADVISES HORSE OWNERS TO VACCINATE AGAINST WEST NILE VIRUS

COUNTY ADVISES HORSE OWNERS TO VACCINATE AGAINST WEST NILE VIRUS

Horse owners in Doña Ana County are being advised to take steps now to vaccinate their horses against West Nile virus.

West Nile virus is a mosquito-borne pathogen that can cause death in horses. It normally is carried by birds. Mosquitoes that bite the birds can transmit the virus to horses, humans and certain wildlife. Horses are especially susceptible to the virus. Fatality rates in horses can be as high as 40 percent.

The Doña Ana County Environmental Services Division is partnering with the federal Centers for Disease Control, area veterinarians and other governmental entities to prepare a plan of action for dealing with West Nile virus once spring and summer arrive. All the participating entities and agencies expect the West Nile virus to be prevalent in Doña Ana County beginning in 2003.

As the mosquito season draws near, the Doña Ana County Environmental Services Division will host a series of workshops to provide area residents information about preventing exposure to mosquito-borne viruses through the elimination of home mosquito breeding sites and an aggressive government control program. Information also will be provided about how blood-borne viruses are spread and what people can do to minimize their exposure.

For more information, call county Public Information Director Jess Williams at (505) 647-7229. Residents calling from outside the Las Cruces area may call toll-free at 1-877-827-7200 and request extension 7229.