Doctors Warn Against Equine Virus

A new warning by health officials for anyone raising horses.

Just this week a horse in Western Smith County was diagnosed with "Eastern Equine Encephalitis" it's a virus similar to West Nile in humans, and is potentially deadly to the animal.

Eastern Equine Encephalitis is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito.  Health officials say it's one of the more serious mosquito- borne diseases in the United States.  Doctors do say it's not a direct threat to humans.

"The horses are dead end hosts for Eastern and Western Encephalitis and I believe they are also dead end host for West Nile which means the horses cannot spread them to people," said veterinarian Dr. Marcus Alexander.

The last time the virus was found in Smith County was nine years ago.  Dr. Alexander says a vaccine is available and recommends horse owners get their animals vaccinated.  Anyone with questions about the vaccine should contact their veterinarian.

Chris Gibson, reporting