First case of West Nile virus confirmed in Gloucester County horse

New Jersey's first case of West Nile virus was confirmed Tuesday in a horse in Gloucester County.

New Jersey Department of Agriculture officials are concerned about the West Nile case and the Eastern Encephalitis cases found in Atlantic, Cumberland and Camden counties. A member of the department says prior to last year Eastern Encephalitis had not been seen in the area since 2000.

One Allentown farmer knows the importance of horse vaccination. According to Dorothy Hock, people should take care of the horses they own or shouldn't have them. A neighbor of Hock's is helping administer a vaccine for West Nile virus and Eastern Encephalitis to one of her fold. It takes 10 weeks for a horse to become immune following the vaccination.

West Nile and Eastern Encephalitis are transferred from mosquitoes, so farmers need to keep ponds and creeks flowing to help control the diseases. The diseases can affect humans and birds in addition to horses.

For more information you can call the State Department of Agriculture - Veterinarian at (609) 292-3965.

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