Tennessee Horse Show Attendees May Have Been Exposed to Rabies

Concerned individuals should contact their County Health Department

Albany, NY, September 15, 2006 – The New York State Health Department today announced that anyone who attended the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration in Shelbyville, Tennessee, from August 23 - 31, may have been exposed to a horse that has tested positive for rabies. Approximately, 150,000 people attended the event.

"Bucky" or "Buck" was a 3-year-old buckskin (cream to tan) gelding (neutered male) with a black mane and tail, standing about 14 hands (56 inches) at the base of the mane. During the event, the horse was ridden only by its owners and stabled in barn 50, stall number 12. The illness was first noticed in the horse on August 28.

Individuals who attended the horse show and believe they may have come in contact with this horse should call their local health department to evaluate their risk for rabies, including whether rabies post exposure treatment is recommended. Possible exposure could occur through a bite or through saliva from the horse coming into contact with eyes, nose, mouth, other mucous membranes or a fresh wound.

Rabies is a viral illness that is almost always fatal in humans once symptoms occur. People can be infected with the rabies virus if they are bitten or exposed to the saliva of an animal that has the disease. A series of post-exposure shots, if given in time, can prevent rabies from developing.

For additional information about rabies contact your local health department or visit the State Health Department website at www.health.ny.gov. Telephone numbers for local health departments may be found on the first page of your telephone book or in the "Government Listings" section.