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FLORIDA LIVESTOCK MOSQUITO-BORNE VIRUSES

Florida Livestock Mosquito-Borne Viruses - MosquitoNix

October 05, 2018

Rise in Mosquito-Borne Illnesses in Florida Livestock

This year, the Florida mosquito population hasn't just been rough on humans. Animals have been feeling the effects as well. A University of Florida professor of entomology recently reported that, for Florida livestock, mosquito-borne disease rates have been much higher than normal in 2018 - especially among horses and chickens. Mosquito season is expected to continue until early December, meaning animals will continue to be at risk until that time.

Mosquito-Borne Viruses & Symptoms for Animals

This year, mosquitos have primarily been transmitting eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) and West Nile virus to Florida livestock. As of late August 2018, EEE has been reported in 139 sentinel chickens and 51 horses, most of them in northern Florida. Symptoms in chickens can include nervousness, circling, tremors and even paralysis, although some birds may show no symptoms at all. For horses, signs can include fever, sleepiness, involuntary muscle twitching and a weak gait. This virus is usually fatal for horses, often within eight days of it being transmitted.

West Nile virus has been even more common in Florida chickens this year, with 165 cases reported in the same time period. However, only one horse has been diagnosed. The virus causes brain inflammation, which might lead to abnormal head posture, limb weakness or paralysis, impaired vision, aimlessness and fever. In poultry, the disease is eventually neutralized by their immune system. A third of horses who become infected die from the disease while about 40 percent of survivors have lingering effects. There is no specific cure currently available for either disease.

How to Combat These Viruses

Steps can be taken to prevent the loss of your Florida livestock to mosquitoes. Vaccination against EEE is highly recommended for both animals, and against West Nile virus for horses (a poultry West Nile vaccine has not yet been developed). You will also want to protect your livestock against mosquito infestations. MosquitoNix currently offers a variety of Florida mosquito control services that are just as effective for animals as they are for humans. Contact us for custom misting systems, regular fog treatments and all-natural mosquito repellents that are safe for livestock and pets.

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