The West Nile virus plaguing parts of Texas showed up in Smith County Thursday.
In recent weeks, as Dallas County struggles to control the virus spread in its area, the virus has been spotted in Henderson, Angelina, Van Zandt and Gregg counties, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Statewide as of Thursday, there were 455 reported cases of the virus in 43 counties. Seventeen deaths are being blamed on the virus as well, according to the department’s website.
Mrs. Elrod said that in Tyler, the district continues to chemically fog high-risk areas where adult mosquitoes have been spotted and treat standing water sources to prevent larva from growing.
She said the district and city keep a running list of areas where there have been mosquito complaints and truck-mounted spraying systems treat them for hours at a time to kill the pests.
The chemicals used by the city are not the same as what’s being deployed aerially in Dallas, she said, and is not toxic to humans. The chemical is specifically intended for mosquitoes and should not affect the area’s bee or other insect populations.
In the case of the horse, she said it’s unlikely other insects will be contaminated by biting the infected animal.
“The horse doesn’t have enough virus (to spread around),” she said, though the bird from which the mosquito got the virus would.
As of Thursday, Mrs. Elrod said the infected horse was being treated for the virus’ symptoms and was still alive.
Texas Department of State Health Services spokeswoman Christine Mann said her office had not received its own confirmation of the infection Thursday afternoon. As of Thursday, the department confirmed 12 cases of the virus in horses, 929 cases in mosquitoes and 75 cases in birds, according to state records.
Anyone with concerns about the mosquito population in their area is encouraged to contact the department at 903-535-0045.
Staff writer Kenneth Dean contributed to this report.