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East-central Minn. horse confirmed to have West Nile

ST. PAUL -- A 3-year-old miniature horse in Pine City in east-central Minnesota was confirmed to have West Nile Virus on July 27, which marks the first equine case in the state in 2018, the Minnesota Department of Health said in a news release Wednesday, Aug. 1.

The attending veterinarian reported to the Minnesota Board of Animal Health that the stallion presented with acute neurologic signs, exhibiting profound weakness in his front limbs, tripping and falling and requiring assistance to stand. The horse has no documented history of vaccination against West Nile Virus and is currently receiving supportive care, the health department said. A mare and a foal also live on the property and are healthy at this time.

The last confirmed case of West Nile Virus in a Minnesota horse was November 2017. Last year, 39 states reported 307 equine cases of West Nile Virus. The Minnesota Department of Health has documented two human cases in 2018 to date.

West Nile Virus is a zoonotic disease spread by mosquitoes, and thought to cycle between mosquitoes and birds.

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