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West Nile Virus is a zoonotic disease which can affect birds, horses and humans. It is a notifiable disease.

First published:
20 November 2018
Last updated:

Suspicion and confirmation

Contact your local Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) office immediately on 0300 303 8268 if you suspect West Nile Virus.

APHA vets will investigate suspected cases.

Clinical signs

The following clinical signs may be present in horses:

  • lethargy
  • lack of co-ordination
  • weakness of the limbs, leading to stumbling

Not all bird species will exhibit signs of the disease but they are the main carriers.

Transmission and prevention

West Nile fever is spread by mosquitoes. Bird migration can spread the disease between countries.

To prevent the spread of disease, you should practice good biosecurity. A vaccine is available for use in Europe.