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Westnil virus reaches Germany: infected horse in Thuringia



The dangerous West Nile virus has also reached the region. In Thuringia, a horse became ill, the Tropical Institute confirmed an infection in humans.

The West Nile virus, equally dangerous to humans and horses and originating in Africa, has reached the region. Four weeks ago, the virus was detected in a horse in neighboring Thuringia. The Tropical Institute has now confirmed a first human infection in Germany.

West Nile Virus: Flu Symptoms in Humans

While an infection in humans can cause flu-like symptoms such as drowsiness, fever and, in more severe cases, meningitis, horses become seriously ill. For them, the virus can be deadly.

Infected and sick horses suffer greatly

As Weidenhäuser veterinarian Michaela Seifert describes, animals suffer from dysphagia, cannot drink, have central nervous symptoms, react completely with an altered character, and have severe episodes of fever. "If the disease actually occurs in the horse, it's very serious," says Michaela Seifert.

The virus is transmitted via native mosquito

She assumes that the virus will soon reach the Werra-Meissner circle, because the transmission route is simple and the attack takes place practically from the air.

Carriers are migratory birds from Africa

The actual carriers of the West Nile virus are migratory birds. If they are bitten by mosquitoes, the insects take over the virus and transfer it to the next bite on humans or horses. While the ceiling remains undisturbed, people and animals get sick because they are end users.

Virus: No vaccine for humans, but possible for horses

West Nile virus infection can only be treated symptomatically. There is no vaccine for humans, but for horses. "It's definitely better to vaccinate animals first," the vet recommends. A basic immunization may begin early next year.

As a protection for horses, she advises not to let them out at dawn or dusk, ie during mosquito flight times – she knows this is not very realistic in practice. People should protect them as usual against mosquito bites.

Hot temperatures favor the spread of West Nile virus

West Nile virus is serious in only a small part of those affected. The virus, originating from Africa, has spread rapidly in the United States, for example, since the early 2000s.

Experts believe the virus will spread even in central Europe. The extent depends on the temperature. Hot summers like the last one favor expansion. The carriers are domestic mosquitoes.

West Nile Virus Information Event in Weidenhausen

On Tuesday, December 17, there will be a free information event at 7 pm at the Dorfgemeinschaftshaus Weidenhausen.


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