Article Index "GoatWorld Archives" Article Index

West Nile Virus

Amber Waves Pygmy Goats Vitamin ADE

Posted by GoatWorld on August 12, 2002 at 18:42:25:

Hello everyone,

I should have posted this article a few days ago when I received it. It may help clear up some of the confusion about the West Nile Virus. This is specific to Texas but covers the particulars about WNV. From what I am reading, I would presume that goats can catch WNV but it is highly unlikely that they would show symptoms. At this point, I'm more worried about we humans getting this stuff than the goats. After all, if we are not around to take care of the goats...

Frequently Asked Questions - West Nile Virus
Below are answers to frequently asked questions about the West Nile virus received by the Texas Department of Health (TDH). Answers to more than 50 frequently asked questions received by the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can be found at

Q. Can dogs, cats and other pets get the West Nile virus?
A. Yes. But they rarely, if ever, get sick. No cases of West Nile disease have been confirmed in dogs and cats. The virus can infect many species of animals, but few actually get the disease. Most infections have been identified in birds, but West Nile virus has been shown to infect dogs, cats, horses, and domestic rabbits, as well as bats, chipmunks, skunks, and squirrels.

Q. Is there a vaccine for dogs and cats?
A. No.

Q. How many human cases have there been in the United States? How many deaths?
A. In 1999, 62 cases of severe disease, including 7 deaths, occurred in the New York area. In 2000, 21 cases were reported, including 2 deaths in the New York City area. In 2001, there were 66 human cases of severe disease and 9 deaths. No reliable estimates are available for the number of cases worldwide of West Nile encephalitis, the disease caused by the West Nile virus.

For 2002 in the United States, there have been numerous cases of human disease due to West Nile virus infection reported to CDC. The latest count of human cases in the U.S. can be found on CDC's web site at

For the latest up-to-date information, go to and read the summaries.

Q. How many human cases have there been in Texas? How many deaths?
A. There have been no deaths in Texas due to infection by the West Nile virus. For the latest up-to-date information on human cases in Texas, see the TDH West Nile Virus home page at

More information about West Nile virus in Texas can be found at

Q. What is the risk of someone becoming infected with West Nile?
A. The risk is very low. Even in areas where the virus is circulating, very few mosquitoes are infected with the virus. Even if the mosquito is infected, less than 1% of people who get bitten and become infected will get severely ill. The chances you will become severely ill from any one mosquito bite are extremely small.

Q. What should I do if I find a dead bird? Does it need to be tested? Who should I call? What kinds of birds are being tested?
A. If you find a dead bird, you can report it to the Zoonosis Control Office in your regional Texas Department of Health office. The regional office you call depends on where you live. Follow this link to find the phone number of the regional office in your area:

Your name, address, phone number, ZIP code, and the location of the dead bird will be collected, so that we can identify the location and contact you for follow-up, if required. We will also ask about the species and number of dead birds.

Whether the bird should be tested depends on several factors: your location in the state, the species of bird, its condition, the number of birds from your county already tested, etc. In most cases, testing of birds will be restricted to crows, blue jays, or hawks. TDH will go over all these requirements with you at the time of your call.

There is no evidence that a person can get the virus from handling live or dead infected birds. However, bare-handed contact when handling any dead animals should be avoided. Use gloves or double plastic bags to place the carcass in a garbage can.

Q. Where in Texas has the virus been found?
A. For the most up-to-date information, go to

Q. Where does the virus live? Do birds or mosquitoes get it first?
A. Birds get it first. The virus is in their bloodstream. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds. The infected mosquitoes can then transmit West Nile virus to humans and animals while biting to take blood. The virus is located in their salivary glands and, during blood feeding, the virus can be injected into the animal or human, where it can multiply, possibly causing illness in the animal or human.

Q. Is TDH doing spraying around the state to kill mosquitoes?
A. No. Vector control is up to the Mosquito Control Districts and local health departments.

Q. In addition to being infected by the West Nile virus, what else can cause bird "die-offs"?
A. Chemical spills, pesticides, drought, severe weather, and other diseases.

Q. What's an arbovirus?
A. Any of various RNA viruses which are the causative agents of encephalitis, yellow fever, and dengue and which are transmitted chiefly by arthropods, such as insects.

Q. What kind of laboratory tests are done to identify the West Nile virus?
A. Various tests can be done. The type of test will vary among mosquitoes, chickens, humans, and horses. The type of test also depends on the kind of samples available (blood serum, cerebrospinal fluid, brain tissue, etc.). Samples may be tested to find antibodies to West Nile virus, or there may be an attempt to isolate virus particles from the sample. Tests that can be done include Hemagglutination-Inhibition, IgM-Capture, Plaque-Reduction Neutralization, virus isolation, and PCR. More details are available in the Response Plan at

Q. Is there a human vaccine?
A. No, but several companies are working towards developing a vaccine.

Q. Can a human get the virus twice?
A. We don't think so. It is assumed that a person would develop a natural immunity to future infection by the virus, and that this immunity would be lifelong. However, this immunity may wane in later years.

Q. I've heard of "positive cases," "suspect cases," "probable cases," and "confirmed cases." What does it all mean?
A. Infections with West Nile virus may, or may not, produce illness. A few people who get ill may seek medical care. Those with severe enough disease that has the appearance of West Nile and similar viruses may have blood or spinal fluid sampled for testing.

Testing of samples has two main components:
Samples may be tested for antibodies to West Nile and other viruses. A positive result indicates that the patient may have been exposed to the virus, but does not prove that the virus is still in the patient. The TDH laboratory in Austin can conduct this test.
Samples may also be tested to find the actual virus. This type of test is more difficult, takes much longer, and may not be successful. A negative test does not prove that the virus did not cause the illness. Virus-isolation tests must be conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Here are definitions of the terms you asked about:
Confirmed case. A case is considered "confirmed" when the patient has illness that looks like West Nile and similar diseases, and the virus has been found by laboratory testing. Not all cases of West Nile fever will be "confirmed."
Probable case. A case is considered "probable" when the patient has illness that looks like West Nile and similar diseases, and antibodies to the virus have been found in sufficient quantities to indicate that the virus may be the cause of disease.
Suspect case. A case is considered "suspect" when the patient has illness that looks like West Nile and similar diseases, but antibodies have not been found in sufficient quantities and the virus has not been found. A West Nile suspect may also be a suspect for Saint Louis encephalitis, eastern equine encephalitis, dengue fever, and other diseases that cause similar symptoms.
Positive case. "Probable" and "confirmed" cases will be reported by TDH as "positive." "Suspect" cases will not be reported because the cause cannot be determined.

Follow Ups:

Post a Followup




Optional Link URL:
Link Title:
Optional Image URL:

Please help support the GoatWorld Project by becoming a member!.
Your membership helps to fund GoatWorld for the long haul!
Agricultural Research Service

Email: Contact INFO
Telephone: Contact INFO
Designed & Hosted by: JOLLY GERMAN
©1999-2019 GoatWorld.Com
All written, audio, video and graphic material contained within this site, except where otherwise noted, is Copyrighted ©1999-2019. Some content may also be the property of contributors to the site, in which case their material is also protected by applicable copyright laws and this copyright policy. No material may be linked directly to or reproduced in any form without written permission. If you would like to reprint something from our site, simply send us an email to request permission to do so. Please refer to our REPRINT criteria.
©Gary Pfalzbot, Colorado, USA
This site is run and operated by a Disabled Veteran