New Quebec Study on West Nile Virus

June 5, 2013

The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the U of M in conjunction with the Quebec Ministry of Health has launched a new study into the prevalence of some zoonotic diseases (diseases that spread from animals to man). They are concerned specifically with 4 viral diseases spread by mosquitoes. As it turns out from the 2012 data there were over 12,000 cases of West Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in Quebec alone. All these diseases are spread from birds to man by mosquitoes. Relatively few people develop meningitis and die, but many get sick. They never get diagnosed as the symptoms resemble the flu virus.

We know that dogs get bitten by mosquitoes as that’s how they get heartworm disease, but fortunately they do not get WNV or EEE. The dogs however mount a quick and strong antibody response to these two bird viruses.

Mosquitoes do not travel they spend their entire life in the same area. Identifying areas where the mosquitoes are infected will help the health care system prepare for human infections. The purpose of the study is to measure just these antibodies in dogs to find the pockets of infection in Quebec in order to be able to warn the public, and institute anti- mosquito measures in locations where the danger of transmission to humans is high.

As many other veterinary clinics in Quebec at Animal 911 we may ask you to take part in this study by agreeing to let us take a sample of your dog’s blood and sending  it to the U of M. Let your dog now help you!

To get more info on WNV check out how the disease has increased its presence in Quebec over the last 10 years:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2094912/