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ILRC Animal Health Bulletin

West Nile Virus

October 2, 2002

The Government Relations/Animal Health working group is now functioning independently from ILR as the International Lama Relations Committee. The ILRC has been monitoring situations in which a llama is alleged to have West Nile Virus in Mass and another involving an alpaca in Iowa and we wanted to share with you this update.Please pass on to your members and mail lists.

The case of alleged WNV in a llama in Mass involved a llama that died in June. This is NOT a confirmed case of WNV as the case involved is one with suspect serology, no post mortem conclusions and no confirmed clinical diagnosis. A full investigation will take time and if done, may not ever be scientifically conclusive.

Unfortunately, yesterday morning we received confirmation from the Iowa State University Veterinary Lab that West Nile Virus has been confirmed in an alpaca. The clinical signs, lesions in the brain and virus detection in the body tissues all support this was in fact a case of WNV. We also learned the lab has also recently confirmed WNV in a sheep. Both the alpaca and the sheep had been recently introduced to their respective herds raising the question of whether stress was a contributing factor to their development of clinical disease.

This is not a lama emergency situation and owners should not over react or draw improper conclusions based upon news reports, chat lines, incomplete or inaccurate science. There is insufficient information available at this time to determine how susceptible camelids are to WNV or if this was an exceptional case, though we obviously now know camelids are capable of becoming infected with West Nile Virus. It is recommended that extra precaution and care be taken by camelid owners in high WNV risk areas to reduce mosquitoes by draining sources of standing water and thereby reducing places they lay their eggs and breed.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) further recommends:

At least once or twice a week, empty water from flower pots, pet food and water dishes, birdbaths, swimming pool covers, buckets, barrels, and cans.

  • Check for clogged rain gutters and clean them out
  • Remove discarded tires, and other items that could collect water
  • Be sure to check for containers or trash in places that may be hard to see, such as under bushes or under your home

More Info on WNV

We will continue to bring you any additional news on this and other important animal health issues.

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions.

Dan Goodyear: Ph: 610-488-6666 email: BALDAN@aol.com
Marsharee Wilcox: Ph: 410-374-3783 email: evllamas@bellatlantic.net
Teri Nilson Baird: Ph: 303-646-4373 email: teri@brokenwindmill.com
Karen Conyngham: Ph: 512-328-8715 email: 72040.3361@compuserve.com
Susan Tellez: Ph: 409-866-0247 email: Sztellez@aol.com

*From Center of Disease Control

The symptoms in people of severe infection (West Nile encephalitis or meningitis) include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation,* coma, tremors,* convulsions,* muscle weakness,* and paralysis*. It is estimated that 1 in 150 persons infected with the West Nile virus will develop a more severe form of disease.

Editorial Note: From Stillwater - * What to look for in llamas or alpacas.