NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee officials say four horses have tested positive for a bacterial illness known as Potomac horse fever.
Tennessee's Department of Agriculture confirmed cases in Hawkins, Robertson and Sullivan counties, in addition to a Wilson County case announced earlier this month in which the horse had to be euthanized.
State Veterinarian Samantha Beaty says transmission is preventable with vaccines and environmental management.
The fever is caused by bacteria believed to be carried by aquatic snail larvae and other organisms, including flies. The department says the fever is not contagious between horses and doesn't threaten human health.
Beaty says horses near bodies of water or low-lying areas that could collect stagnant water are at risk. The department suggests providing clean drinking water and turning off insect-attracting stable lights at night.
Signs of infection — including anorexia, diarrhea, colic, fever and laminitis — can show within two to 18 days after ingestion. They can be fatal if untreated.