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State Veterinarian Statement on West Nile Virus-Positive Berrien County Camelid
October 25, 2023
As mosquito-borne diseases can impact any species, it is vital to take precautions to protect all your animals
LANSING, MI — State Veterinarian Nora Wineland, DVM, MS, DACVPM, released the following statement due to the detection of West Nile virus (WNV) in a six-year-old camelid from Berrien County. This is the fourth case of WNV reported in a domestic animal for 2023.
“On September 25, 2023, the camelid became ill with head and neck tremors, which progressed to the animal being down and unable to rise. The camelid later succumbed to the disease, and subsequent testing revealed the animal was positive for WNV.
While WNV typically affects horses, humans, and birds, the disease can sometimes cause illness in other animals. Therefore, even though this case is rare, it is not fully unexpected. Camelid owners are encouraged to work with their veterinarian on an appropriate plan for disease prevention.”
WNV is a viral disease transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. The disease is not spread by animal-to-animal or animal-to-human contact. Cases of WNV are typically seen in the late summer through early fall each year in Michigan.
Owners are encouraged to continue taking steps to keep mosquitoes away from their animals—such as placing livestock in a barn under fans during peak mosquito activity (from dusk to dawn), eliminating standing water on one’s property, and using an insect repellant on animals that is approved for the species.
The mosquitoes that carry WNV and other mosquito-borne diseases will remain alive and active until there has been at least one hard freeze where the temperatures fall below 28 degrees Fahrenheit.
As of October 20, 2023, WNV was also detected in 17 wild birds and 124 mosquito pools throughout Michigan. There were 19 cases of the disease reported in humans as well.
If there are any questions regarding an animal’s health, please contact a veterinarian. Also, funding is available to test animals suspected of having a mosquito-borne disease. Please contact the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development at 800-292-3939 for more details.
For more information about WNV, please visit michigan.gov/emergingdiseases.