Posted: Sep 7, 2013 2:14 PM by Lindsey Gordon - MTN News
HELENA - As of Friday, two new cases of West Nile Virus in horses confirmed this week bring Montana's total to 13 reported cases of the illness, according to the state veterinarian, Marty Zaluski.
One of those horses is recovering and the status of the other is still unknown, said Zaluski.
The newest reports are from the western part of the state, however cases of equine West Nile occur most often in the eastern part of Montana. The state veterinarian says there is no good explanation for that.
"Just yesterday we had a couple reports from counties on the highline that included Glacier and Hill County. So you know, it's really very difficult to predict or really understand where the disease will strike, because certainly we have mosquitos in every county in the state," he said.
Zaluski also adds that all of the cases in the state have been unrelated. Of the 13 confirmed, they occurred in 12 different Montana counties.
He said that when a horse contracts West Nile Virus, there is roughly a 50-percent chance it will be fatal. Of the 13 cases so far this year, there have been six deaths; either from euthanization or from complications with the disease.
The threat of the virus could last through September until areas experience hard frosts that kill off the disease vector: mosquitos. Until then, Zaluski advises talking with a veterinarian to discuss topical insecticides that have been proven effective in protecting horses.