JEFFERSON COUNTY, Mo. (KMOV) – A horse from Jefferson County has tested positive for West Nile Virus, officials announced Friday.
The health department, which learned about the horse this week, said the animals are infected through the bite of a mosquito.
“A horse sickened by West Nile is a warning that the virus is very active in the county, and can be an indication that mosquitoes carrying the virus are capable of infecting horses and people,” said Steve Crawford, mosquito program coordinator for the Jefferson County Health Department. “Infected horses cannot in turn infect mosquitoes and are not considered a risk to humans.”
Officials said a vaccine for the virus exists for horses, but a human vaccine against the virus does not exist.
Officials encourage residents to use insect repellents that contain DEET or Picaridin and to wear light-colored clothes in areas mosquitoes are active.
The Centers for Disease Control has reported over 1,100 cases of West Nile throughout the country this year, including cases in 47 states.