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School of Veterinary Medicine hosts equine seminars on West Nile Virus March 9 and 11

March 1, 2003

Californians will learn how the state has prepared for the West Nile virus and how horse owners can prevent West Nile fever in their horses at two scientific seminars scheduled for March 9 and March 11, 2003.

Concern about West Nile virus entering California has grown since 1999 as the virus has moved westward from its original entry point into the United States in New York City. Because the issue may affect horses throughout the state, the school has scheduled two seminars, one in Southern California and one on the UC Davis campus.


For a description of the evening event Sunday, March 9, 2003, please read the press release from the Thoroughbred Owners of California.


Tuesday, March 11, 2003, the Center for Equine Health presents the scientific seminar, "West Nile Virus: The Threat to California’s Horses," at the University Club, UC Davis. The event runs 10 AM-3:30 PM.

There is no fee for the seminars. Seating will be limited, so reservations are recommended. Please note that presentations will contain technical material.

Each seminar will examine the potential impact of the West Nile Virus on equine health in California. Experts from universities and state agencies will be on hand to discuss diagnosis, monitoring for animal and human disease, virus transmission, monitoring and control of vectors such as mosquitoes, clinical management, vaccination of mares and foals, and other topics. Scheduled speakers from the School of Veterinary Medicine include: James MacLachlan, Sharon Hietala, Tom Scott, John Madigan, David Wilson and Udeni Balauriya.

Because West Nile, which can cause an encephalomyelitis with a 30% fatality rate in horses, began on the East Coast and has progressed west, California has not yet seen any equine cases. State officials and UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine faculty have used that time to prepare a prevention plan and conduct public education efforts.

Gregory L. Ferraro, director of the Center for Equine Health , states, "Unfortunately, West Nile virus is almost certain to hit the California equine population this year, but if horse owners are knowledgeable about this disease, they can do many things to prevent it from infecting their horses."

For more information, contact:
Center for Equine Health, (530) 752-6433

Thoroughbred Owners of California