A horse in northeastern Pennsylvania had to be euthanized due to West Nile Virus earlier this month. The horse in Northampton County was diagnosed with the virus by blood test in mid-March, the earliest report of the illness in a horse in Pennsylvania since the disease first appeared in the state.
It’s believed the mild weather has brought mosquitoes out early in some areas. Amanda Whitman of the Department of Environmental Protection says the virus is difficult to predict, but the unseasonably warm temperatures have led to an increase in the number of mosquitoes much earlier than in years past. DEP does not begin full time monitoring for the season until April.
In 2010 and 2011, the first equine cases were not reported until August. Whitman says it’s a reminder not to wait to take steps like eliminating standing water around your home to control the population of mosquitoes.
To learn more about West Nile Virus, you can go to DEP’s West Nile web page, where you will find statistics and advice.