NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — The state veterinarian confirmed a case of the West Nile Virus (WNV) in a Middle Tennessee horse, according to a release from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture.

The 22-year-old horse in Smith County has since been euthanized, but health professionals warn that the virus, which is spread solely from mosquitoes, can be fatal. Roughly 20% of people infected with the virus develop a fever, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and about 1 in 150 infected person develop a serious and sometimes fatal illness.

While vaccines are available for some animals, there are no available WNV vaccines for people.

According to the CDC, the virus is the leading mosquito-borne disease in the U.S. The last reported cases of the West Nile Virus in Northeast Tennessee were recorded in humans in 2017 — one case in Washington County and another in Sullivan County.

Before those cases, the CDC reported another person had contracted the virus in 2016 in Washington County.

The best prevention includes wearing insect repellent and long-sleeved shirts and long pants to decrease exposure to mosquitoes. Animal owners are also advised to eliminate areas of standing water or particularly damp spots where insects may gather and breed.

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