Lufkin horse show attendees may have been exposed to rabies

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - From the Texas Department of State Health Services

The Texas Department of State Health Services is warning people who may have attended a horse show in Lufkin in March that they may have been exposed to a horse that tested positive for rabies.

The Lufkin show, as well as a show in Belton, were attended by about 150 people from Texas, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana and Mississippi.

While risk of transmission to humans appears to be low, DSHS is attempting to contact show attendees about possible exposures. Rabies is a viral illness that is almost always fatal once symptoms develop.

The horse participated in events at the following two shows during its infectious period:

  • March 19-21, American Southwest Texas Cutting Horse Association show, Belton
  • March 25-27, Lufkin Cutting Horse Association show, Lufkin

Health officials are urging people who believe they have been exposed to the rabid horse to contact their health care provider or DSHS at (512) 458-7455 to determine if preventive treatment is warranted.

The horse was a 7-year-old bay quarter horse gelding with a faint star on its forehead. During the events, the horse was ridden and fed only by its owners and trainers and was stabled in a barn at each site.

Illness was first noticed in the horse March 31. It died April 4 and tested positive for rabies April 6.

People can be infected with the rabies virus if they are bitten or if the infected animal's saliva gets in an open wound or cut or in the eyes, nose or mouth of a person. A series of post-exposure shots, if given in time, can prevent rabies from developing.