West Nile Virus kills horse, infects more people

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WAFF) - The country is arming itself against West Nile Virus as the number of people infected continues to rise.

There are 12 confirmed cases in Alabama, but the virus is also infecting animals. It has already killed one horse in Birmingham, but a local vet there thinks it could be the cause of several other recent horse deaths.

Dr. Barbara Benhart said she has treated nearly two dozen horses with the West Nile vaccine in just one day.

She urged horse owners to get their animals vaccinated if they haven't already done so.

There have been no confirmed cases in the Tennessee Valley in horses or humans, but here are some things you might want to know for yourself.

About one in 150 people infected with the virus will develop a serious illness. People typically develop symptoms within three to 14 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito, but many of those people won't develop any symptoms.

There is no West Nile vaccine for humans, and people older than 50 are at a higher risk to develop a serious illness if infected.

Many cities around the state are spraying pesticides.

You can also wear long sleeves and pants, and use bug spray with "deet" in it to protect yourself.

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