The following is an email sent to Hall County officials in reference to a possible infection of West Nile Virus in a canine in Hall County.
So far our year has been quiet with respect to WNV, until last week, that is. A dog from Hall County was exhibiting symptoms compatible with those seen in horses infected with WNV. The animal was ataxic and falling. It could not rise on its own and fell over when helped up. These and other symptoms resulted in the veterinarian testing the animal for WNV. The animal was positive on PRNT but since that doesn’t differentiate antibodies as IgM or IgG, the animal doesn’t meet case definition for WNV.
I am taking it as a possible indication of WNV activity in the area and recommending that people take steps to protect themselves and their equine stock they own through vaccination. Steps should be taken to eliminate standing water and clean up weeds and other habitat where mosquitoes may reside.
The old “4 D” message is still applicable: 1. Drain standing water; 2. Avoid being out at dusk and dawn; 3. Dress appropriately with long sleeves and pants when out during periods of mosquito activity; and 4. Defend yourself by using an effective repellent and using AC or window screens.
This is the time of year that WNV cases begin to appear so awareness needs to be heightened with respect to WNV.
James L. Alexander, DVM, MPVM, DACVPM
Regional Zoonosis Control Veterinarian
Texas Department of State Health Services