EHV-1 Outbreak Update

Kentucky Veterinary Medical Association

News Alert

Earlier this afternoon the Florida Department of Agriculture and State Veterinarians Office hosted a teleconference where state animal health officials and others received detailed information regarding last week’s diagnosis of EHV-1 in a Florida resident horse that had presented ataxic while stabled at an Ocala show. During the call details of the continuing investigation were also provided.

In Summary:

1) There has been 1 horse presenting ataxic. This horse was tested and found to be EHV-1 (wild strain) positive by PCR.

2) Five additional

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horses that had been epidemiologically linked to the same premises (HITS grounds in Ocala ) have also been found to be EHV-1 (wild strain) positive. None of these horses have demonstrated any neurological abnormalities.

3) An additional horse ( Wellington area and no identified direct or indirect connection to the Ocala show grounds) has been tested and found to be EHV-1 (wild strain) positive. There have been no neurologic symptoms associated with this animal.

4) All horses remaining on the grounds at the Ocala HITS facility have been quarantined and continue to be monitored.

5) Horses on 13 separate premises thought to or suspected as having opportunity of exposure have been placed under quarantine. These premises are comprised of private farms, training facilities as well as the population on the HITS showground in Ocala and the FEI stabling area on the Wellington showground.

The Florida Department of Agriculture has posted a detailed report of their investigatory activity and current disease status on their web site at: regular updates being posted. The posted updates also include links to additional resources.

At this time there has been a single horse presenting with evidence of neurologic abnormalities. The common symptom described in the other cases includes fever.

Equine herpes virus type 1 is described to be a highly contagious pathogen and is ubiquitous in horse populations throughout the world.

This most recent occurrence demonstrates the importance of horsemen implementing good biosecurity protocols that should become routine when attending shows and events or visiting other venues where horses of different origins and disease status are congregating. Additionally, and in preparation for our spring show season here in Kentucky , we encourage horsemen to consult their veterinarians in evaluating their horse’s current vaccination and immunity status and to review your or help develop an individualized biosecurity plan.

We will continue to monitor the Florida occurrence and adjust our disease mitigation strategies as warranted.
E.S. Rusty Ford Equine Programs Manager Office of State Veterinarian