September 20, 2005
The first positive case of West Nile Virus has been reported in Virginia. It was found in a horse in Albemarle County.
West Nile Virus normally lives in birds, with mosquitoes transmitting it from bird to bird.
Occasionally a mosquito that has bitten an infected bird will bite a horse or human.
In this case, the owner is believed to have taken the right precautions, and the infected horse has already recovered.
"Indications are that [the infected horse] was in fact vaccinated, which is a great message from a public health standpoint in terms of vaccinating horses against this potentially very severe and potentially life-threatening illness," said Roy Crewz, the Senior District Epidemiologist for the Department of Health.
The public can help state officials monitor for the virus by reporting dead crows, blue jays, and birds of prey to the local health department.