Rabies Case at Horse Show

Nashville, tenn. (Ap) --Ttennessee health officials have sent letters, cautioning about a case of horse rabies, to 4,002 people who attended the annual Tennessee Walking Horse celebration in Shelbyville.

A horse from Missouri began showing symptoms of rabies on August 28th and had severe neurological problems in the following days before being destroyed.

Health department medical epidemiologist John Dunn says the letters were sent out yesterday to people in 34 states, Canada and Germany. They went to people whose names were on lists of exhibitors, trainers and owners registered at the show and people who purchased reserved tickets for the event.

The letter asks that people contact the department if they believe they had direct contact with the infected horse.

Dunn says the chance of rabies spreading to people or other horses is rare. Rabies is transmitted through the bite of infected animals. Dunn says there's a small chance of transmitting it if a large amount of saliva got into an open wound or there were saliva contact with a person's nose, eyes or mouth.

Health officials believe the horse was bitten in Missouri and didn't show signs of infection until the animal arrived at the celebration.