West Nile Virus Finds Its Way To Texas - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

7/4/04

West Nile Virus Finds Its Way To Texas

   It was just last spring when we spoke with Kalma Utz, a horse breeder near Chapel Hill who was worried, "We have a problem with beavers down the creek, and it's causing this to turn into a swamp so it's a big concern for me."

   A concern because the swamp brings mosquitos, carriers of the West Nile Virus, a deadly type of encephalitis that infects horses and sometimes humans.

   Starting on the eastern seaboard, the disease has quickly spread to 20 states, hitting several Louisiana Parishes bordering Texas. Now, it's found its way to Harris County, Texas.

   "It just so happens that the West Nile Virus occurs naturally in crows and blue jays and that's where it's found normally," says Tyler Veterinarian Bryan Ramsey.

   In 40 percent of all cases, it kills. That's why Dr. Ramsey suggests vaccinating your horses, the best form of protection as it creeps across our state. "The virus is likely to find its way to East Texas," Ramsey explains. "We have a horrible mosquito problem here and crows and blue jays. I think the virus is probably already here, we just haven't found it yet."

   It's believed that humans and horses can not pass the virus on. Mosquitos are the primary carriers who transmit the disease. That's why mosquito control is important for preventing the virus from spreading.

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