West Nile Virus Discovered in Texas

It was expected this year... and now West Nile Virus has been found in Texas.

Two blue jays found in Harris County near Houston have tested positive for the form of encephalitis.

The virus can be deadly to horses, birds, and rarely, humans. It's usually spread by mosquitoes that bite infected birds... and West Nile has made steady progress west across the country since it was found on the Eastern Seaboard in 1999.

About twenty percent of horses infected will die... but there is a vaccine for them. It must be done quickly.

"It's a two shot series. You do one now, you do one in 3 to 6 weeks.  It actually takes several weeks after the second injection to get protection against this disease, so we're looking at a two month period before your horses are even protected." says Tyler veterinarian Gary Spence.

The signs of West Nile in horses often resemble rabies... so horses should be examined immediately if any symptoms appear.