West Nile confirmed in alpaca death

The Eastern New Mexico News
By: Alexis Griffee
Photo: By Cynthia Goldsmith

Original content from The Eastern New Mexico News.
An Iowa lab confirmed last week that West Nile virus was responsible for the July 17 death of an alpaca in Curry County.

Rosemary Metcalf, owner of Windrush Alpacas, said she noticed on July 15 an alpaca named Echo “started with strange and sudden neurological symptoms and rapidly went down hill.”

The symptoms led local veterinarian Dr. David Orton to suspect West Nile. Since alpacas are considered exotic animals, the test for the virus was performed, and confirmed, by the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, Orton said.

Per veterinary procedure, Orton said the positive West Nile test result was reported to the New Mexico state Livestock Board.

Metcalf took to social media to share Echo’s story in hope of educating the public about the presence of West Nile in eastern New Mexico.

“I do feel it is important to make sure that people are aware of West Nile virus being in the area. With there not being many cases over the last few years, I think there is a danger of people becoming complacent over mosquito control and the risk of contracting West Nile,” she wrote in a series of Facebook messages.

West Nile can infect both animals and humans. It is a “vector borne” disease, and has to be transmitted through the bite of an infected insect, usually a mosquito.

Read the rest of this story at The Eastern New Mexico News