Deadly pests

By Susan Aielo • Published: February 23rd, 2011
Category: Animal Airwaves

Ask any Floridian: Nothing breaks up an outdoor party like a mosquito raid. But while we often think of mosquitoes as a mere nuisance, they can carry deadly diseases.

In the southeastern United States, encephalitis viruses are most often found in wild birds that are infected by mosquitoes carrying the virus in the blood. But birds aren’t the only ones at risk. Infected mosquitoes can transmit the virus to horses and to people or pets. Some infections are mild, but the virus can attack the nervous system and cause stumbling, paralysis, seizures and even death.

Luckily, there are ways to keep you and your horses safe. Vaccines are available for horses to protect against most types of equine encephalitis. You can also limit exposure to mosquitoes by using repellants and outdoor mosquito control practices, such as draining puddles and spraying stalls.