Two Cases of West Nile Confirmed in West Texas - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

8/13/02

Two Cases of West Nile Confirmed in West Texas

The West Nile Virus has now reached two cities in West Texas: Lockney and Silverton. A Silverton rancher got word that his horse is diagnosed with the West Nile Virus. Gerald Smith says he's optimistic the horse will recover. In Lockney, city officials got test results back on Tuesday confirming West Nile virus in a horse that died last week.

State and local health officials said it was just a matter of time until the West Nile virus showed up in West Texas. Now that it has, preventing mosquito bites is more important than ever. It's something Lockney residents will have to think about every day. "It's scary, I hope that they can find a cure," said Lockney resident Adolpho Alaniz.

Lockney residents like Adolpho Alaniz are stunned Tuesday night, they didn't expect the West Nile virus to show up here so quickly. For Alma Chavariia the news means a change in the daily routine for her three kids. "I'm not going to let them play outside," said Chavariia.

This recent case of West Nile happened at the Old Floyd County Fairgrounds. Last Tuesday, a horse got very sick, and within 36 hours, it had to be put to sleep. Last Wednesday, health officials sent a blood sample to a lab in Amarillo and results came back Tuesday, confirming the horse had the West Nile virus.

Wednesday, Lockney ranchers will begin vaccinating their horses. Meanwhile, Lockney Police Chief Jerry Edwards says the city will do everything it can to prevent any more cases.  "We're doing aerial spraying and Wednesday morning we will spray again we'll be more aggressive about it, and the public can do their part by keeping weeds down, getting rid of standing water, and putting mosquito repellant on," said Edwards.

Those are things that Lockney residents like Alma have already started to do. "Now that we're biking, I made them put on protection," she said.

Fortunately, no other animals or humans are showing symptoms of the West Nile virus in Lockney.

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