Campus News

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Campus Bulletin

August 30, 2002

OVC reports confirmed case of West Nile virus in horse

It was confirmed today that a horse recently admitted to the Ontario Veterinary College’s Large Animal Clinic and subsequently euthanized has tested positive for the West Nile virus.

The risk of transmission of West Nile virus from affected horses to people is negligible, says Jill McCutcheon, OVC’s acting dean and a pathobiology professor. There are no reports of transmission of West Nile virus directly from animals to people, and no evidence that the virus can be transmitted directly between mammals. Personnel in OVC are trained to deal with all types of infectious diseases and standard hygienic precautions that are already in place will decrease any risks even further, McCutcheon says.

While West Nile virus is an emerging disease in the horse population in Ontario, hundreds of cases have been dealt with in the United States and 26 horses in Manitoba have tested positive. OVC is also awaiting test results on two other horses that were admitted to the Large Animal Clinic exhibiting signs related to West Nile virus and subsequently euthanized.

Although there have been no confirmed reports of humans testing positive for the virus in Canada, Ontario health officials said today that they are awaiting test results on three probable cases of West Nile virus in humans. The testing process can take as long as two weeks to complete.

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