Smith County — On Thursday, the Northeast Texas Public Health District received notice from a local veterinarian that a horse he treated tested positive for West Nile fever, according to KTBB.
The case is also being investigated by the Texas Department of State Health Services Zoonosis Division.
The disease is spread through the bite of a mosquito infected with the West Nile virus. The horse was pastured off of CR 2813 and Beddingfield Road near Flint Texas on the on the south side of Smith County. At this time the horse is surviving.
According to health officials, symptoms in a horse are neurological in nature, coordination is affected, and the horse may lack appetite and/or appear colicky. A vaccine for horses is available; anyone with questions about the horse vaccine should contact his or her veterinarian.
The Northeast Texas Public Health District advises citizens to avoid breeding mosquitoes by eliminating standing water around their homes. To avoid contact with the mosquitoes, the recommendation is to wear long sleeves and long pants when outside, apply insect repellent before going out, and avoid the outdoors during the dusk and dawn hours when mosquitoes are most active.
Officials say the Health District will continue to work with the media to report positive West Nile Virus activity in the area so that the citizens of Smith County and other counties can be aware of potentially high risk local areas and take appropriate action.
Anyone with questions concerning mosquito-borne illnesses may contact the Northeast Texas Public Health District, Disease Surveillance Division at 903-595-1350.
For current confirmed human case counts, prevention tips, and much more, you can visit http://www.healthyeasttx.org and click on the West Nile Virus link.