- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 13, 2006

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee’s Department of Health has alerted about 4,200 people who attended a horse show several weeks ago that one of the animals tested positive for rabies, but an official said it is unlikely that the disease spread during the show.

Dr. John Dunn, a medical epidemiologist, said letters were sent out Monday to attendees in 34 states, Canada and Germany.

The letters say a horse from Missouri became ill during the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration held in Shelbyville from Aug. 23 to Sept. 2, and could have spread the disease to people or other horses.

However, the chance of that happening is rare, Dr. Dunn said.

“Rabies can only be contracted through the bite of an infected animal,” he said. “There is also a small potential for contraction through a large amount of saliva in a fresh open wound, or in contact with the nose, eyes or mouth.”

The letter asks that people contact the department if they think they had contact with the infected horse. The horse’s owners first noticed the animal was ill on Aug. 28 while at the show south of Nashville. It was euthanized.

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