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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, August 30, 2002

Stables cautioned about virus

By Curtis Lum
Advertiser Staff Writer

The state veterinarian is advising owners of horses and other domestic animals to watch their livestock for symptoms of West Nile infection.

James Foppoli said the virus, already identified in 41 states, has not been detected in Hawai'i. Still, Foppoli asked that residents, particularly those who own horses, keep an eye on their animals for signs of the virus.

Infected horses can weaken, stumble and stagger, but some horses may not show signs of the disease. Owners are encouraged to consult their veterinarians about vaccinations.

The West Nile virus is transmitted by mosquitoes and is a disease that occurs primarily among wild birds. But other birds and humans also can be infected.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported 24 West Nile deaths nationwide and confirmed 480 cases of infected humans in 21 states and the District of Columbia.

The virus causes either no symptoms in humans or mild symptoms that mimic the flu.

Foppoli said residents should practice the same mosquito eradication methods used to prevent the dengue fever earlier this year.

For information on the West Nile virus as it pertains to animals, call the state Department of Agriculture at 973-9560.