By MITCH LIES
A horse in Klamath County, Ore., has tested positive for West Nile virus.
The case is the first in Oregon of a horse or human contracting the virus that is spreading across the United States.
According to an Aug. 21 report from the Centers for Disease Control, the virus has been found in people, birds or mosquitoes in 47 states. The report shows that 1,118 people have contracted the virus and 41 have died.
The 1,118 cases is the highest number of West Nile cases reported to CDC through the third week in August since the virus was first detected in the United States in 1999, according to the center.
Approximately 75 percent of the cases have been reported from Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Dakota and Oklahoma, with almost half coming from Texas, the center reports.
No humans in Oregon have been infected with the virus since 2009, according to the Oregon Health Authority.
Mosquitoes tested positive for the virus in Malheur County, Ore., in July and near Medford, Ore., in August, according to the Oregon Department of Agriculture.
Oregon State Veterinarian Brad LeaMaster said the Oregon State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory confirmed Aug. 22 that the Klamath County horse was infected with the virus.
"The horse was showing symptoms that it was sick," LeaMaster said. "The local veterinarian was right on it. The veterinarian sent samples in to the diagnostic lab, and the lab made the diagnosis."
Horses infected with West Nile show a broad spectrum of symptoms, LeaMaster said, including weakness, lack of coordination and progressive paralysis. In extreme cases, infections can lead to death.
LeaMaster advised horse owners to make sure their horse vaccinations are current.