West Nile Virus and Horses

One of my favorite things about school the second time around is that I’m finding lots of ways to make my journalism classes and equine classes intersect. This summer I made a short Public Service Announcement film for my media class about West Nile Virus and horses. It’s not easy telling a story in 60 seconds or less with no narration or words on-screen until the end credits roll. To make it even more challenging since I couldn’t film a mosquito in action, I decided to add animation for my piece. Since the project is done, I’ve included some more information about West Nile Virus.


Birds are the reservoir host of West Nile Virus, which can cause an inflammation of the brain known as encephalitis leading to a variety of neurological symptoms including death. Female mosquitos that drink the infected blood from birds spread the virus. As she draws the blood up through her proboscis the virus sits in her salivary glands. When she bites another animal the virus moves down the proboscis with the saliva into the capillary of the victim.

Horses and humans can be infected with West Nile Virus though the virus cannot spread from horse to horse or horse to human. There is no cure for West Nile Virus for horses only medical support after infection. However, not every animal infected by the virus will show symptoms, which can range from unnoticeable or mild symptoms to severe neurological impairment, even death.

While mosquito control can be effective, birds are able to travel long distances spreading the virus across the country. In wet seasons mosquito populations can explode. There is a vaccine for horses that can prevent infection or lessen the symptoms if a horse does become infected. The once yearly vaccine can give horse owners peace of mind when other factors are out of their control. _____________________________________________________________________________________ Film Credits: This video was made for JTC 211 as a 60 second Public Service Announcement that uses no narration or words on screen. My project uses still photos, illustrations, animation and live footage, which are copyright Victoria Dixie Crowe, except were noted. The sound effects, sound track, and calendar pages are Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 and are credited to their authors/creators below:

Soundtrack from Freemusicarchive.org – “Veloma” by Fabrizio Paterlini 

Sound Effects from Soundbible.com

Sunny day –public domain 
Mosquito Buzzing- Recorded by Mike Koenig 
Heartbeat 2- Recorded by Mike Koenig
Magic Wand Noise – Recorded by Mike Koenig 
Fly Buzzing – Recorded by Mike Koenig
Martian Speak – Recorded by Mike Koenig
Torpedo Impact – Recorded by Mike Koenig

Other material – Calendar page clip art – open source