New Jersey Department of Agriculture – MEMO: First West Nile Virus Positive Horse in New Jersey in 2015

A 10 year-old gelding from Gloucester County was humanely euthanized on October 3rd after having tested presumptive positive for West Nile Virus (WNV). This is the first confirmed case of WNV in a horse in 2015. The vaccination status of this horse was unknown. In August, a 2- year-old mare from Gloucester County was also humanely euthanized after testing positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). That horse was not vaccinated and was the first and, so far, only confirmed equine case of EEE this year.

Both WNV and EEE are viral diseases that affect horses’ neurological systems and are transmitted by mosquito bite.  EEE is a serious disease that causes inflammation of the brain tissue and has a significantly higher risk of death in horses than West Nile Virus (WNV) infection. Horse owners are urged to vaccinate their animals from mosquito-borne illnesses such as WNV and EEE because animals that are vaccinated are less likely to contract these deadly diseases. Effective equine vaccines for WNV and EEE have been available for several years.

In 2014, New Jersey had 4 cases of equine EEE; 2 in September and 2 in October. No cases of equine WNV occurred in New Jersey in 2014.  For more information about EEE and WNV in horses, visit the New Jersey Department of Agriculture web site at:

WNV and EEE, like other viral diseases affecting horses’ neurological systems, must be reported to the state veterinarian within 48 hours, and a neurologic disease worksheet must be completed for each case reported.  The worksheet is available at the following website and once completed can be faxed to the Division.

The NJDA – Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory (AHDL) is available to assist with EEE, WNV, and EHV-1 testing. The EEE and WNV testing is provided at no cost to the submitter as the AHDL receives funding from the State Mosquito Control Commission to perform the testing.

EEE ELISA (Free of charge)1 ml serum, w/cold pack PCR (Free of charge)1 ml whole blood PTT*/CSF**/brain tissue 2-3 days
WNV PCR (Free of charge)Whole blood PTT */CSF**/brain tissue ELISA (Free of charge)1 ml serum, w/cold pack 2-3 days
EHV-1 Neurologic PCR ($50.00)Whole blood PTT/Nasal swab, brain tissue EHV-1 SN titer ($15.00)1 ml serum, w/cold pack 2-4 days

Contact Dr. Amar Patil at (609) 406-6999 or via email:


Division of Animal HealthPhone: (609) 671-6400Fax: (609) 671-6413 Animal Health Diagnostic LaboratoryPhone: (609) 406-6999Fax: (609) 671-6414