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Second Virginia Horse Confirmed with Neurologic EHV-1

Virginia officials report a second horse has tested positive for equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy (EHM), a neurological disease caused by the equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1). The horse was stabled at a farm in Loudoun County.
On February 5th, the infected equine exhibited a fever and was not eating or drinking. Despite a lack of neurological signs, its owner took the horse to the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center (EMC) in Leesburg. Tests diagnosed the disease. The horse is recovering and under quarantine.
A second horse from the same stable exhibited a fever, but no other symptoms. As a precaution, it is also under quarantine at the equine hospital. Tests are currently underway.

Dr. Richard Wilkes, State Veterinarian with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), stressed that the horses were admitted directly into the isolation area at Marion duPont Scott. “At no time were these horses in the general hospital area. The EMC is confident that their bio-security protocols will contain the virus to the isolation area.”

Thirty-three horses are under quarantine on the Loudoun County farm. None of them have shown any signs of EHV-1, but will be monitored at least through February 26th. No horses from the farm have been at events during the incubation period for the virus, according to state officials.

A horse in western Albemarle County tested positive for neurologic EHV-1 earlier this month. It has been under quarantine for a week and continues to improve. Officials say there is no known connection between the Loudoun County and Albemarle County horses.

EHV-1 symptoms may include respiratory disease, abortion, and intermittent outbreaks of neurologic disease in horses. 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.

Suspect horses should be isolated from healthy horses. Veterinarians recommend using proper biosecurity measures when attending equine events to help protect your horses from the potential spread of any illness. EHV-1 is highly contagious among horses, but poses no threat to humans.