State health officials say for the first time, a Central Oregon county has recorded West Nile virus. West Nile was first reported in Oregon in 2003, but 16 years later, this is the first time the virus has been reported in a horse in Crook County east of Bend.
Veterinarians are reminding horse owners to get their animals vaccinated. Local animal health officials say this horse has recovered from the virus. In addition to horses, Oregon health officials say the virus can also infect chickens, squirrels and dogs.
Cases of West Nile virus have been recorded in Multnomah and Clackamas counties, the most recent in 2014 in Clackamas County. Eight people in Oregon contracted the virus in three different counties in 2019. Symptoms include fever, headache, stiff neck, fatigue and confusion, shaking, paralysis, rash and encephalitis – inflammation of the brain. About one in 150 people who are infected develop severe symptoms.
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