The Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC) announced on March 1, that a Florida horse originating from Virginia has been confirmed with the equine herpes virus (EHV-1). A Martin County training facility is under quarantine.
More than 450 Thoroughbreds are impacted by the quarantine at Payson Park Thoroughbred Training Center in Indiantown. No horses are allowed to enter or leave the property for 21 days.
After showing symptoms, the Thoroughbred tested positive for the neurologic strain of EHV-1, also known as equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy (EHM). The horse is in isolation.
The index horse was imported to Florida from another Thoroughbred training facility in Fauquier County, Virginia on February 22. The farm is now under quarantine, although officials report no exposed horses are showing clinical signs of disease.
Additional horses were dropped in South Carolina and the state veterinarian has reportedly taken similar precautions in that state.
Symptoms that should alert horse owners to the possibility of neurologic EHV-1 infection include fever, weakness, incoordination, and urine dribbling or inability to urinate. Horses with these symptoms should be examined immediately by a veterinarian.
EHV-1 can be spread through various methods. Direct, horse-to-horse contact is a common route of transmission, but indirect transmission is also possible. It occurs when infectious materials are carried between infected and non-infected horses by people or inanimate objects such as buckets, tack, or trailers. Aerosol transmission can also occur when infectious droplets are inhaled. The source of infectious droplets is most often respiratory secretions.
There is no vaccine currently on the market that has a label for prevention of the neurologic form of the disease.