Equine disease outbreaks at HITS Ocala
Updated February 24, 2013
Seven locations across Florida are quarantined after a case of the Equine Herpes Virus is confirmed at HITS Ocala showgrounds, according to officials.
The Division of Animal Industry is investigating multiple locations that have horses that may have been exposed to the infected horse. The state imposed quarantines include the index farm (which isn’t on the HITS grounds), Tent 7 at HITS and five additional premises in Florida. Those are in Ocala, one is in Pinellas Park, another in St. Augustine, and one is located in Wellington.
A HITS official tells Rate My Horse PRO that horses located in Tent 7 are not allowed to show or leave the area which is enclosed by barriers. Additionally, no farms in the tent have horses located elsewhere on the grounds.
Authorities say there are no known exposed horses in other states related to this case.
A horse participating at the HITS horse show in Ocala started showing clinical neurological signs on February 20th. The horse tested positive for the EHV-1, wild-type strain. Currently, the horse is in stable condition and continues to be treated at the University of Florida. There are no additional confirmed cases at this time, according to officials.
A horse at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center has tested negative for EHV-1, according to competition officials. It arrived at the Wellington facility on February 19 from HITS Ocala where it was stabled in Tent 7. It spiked a fever days later. The horse remains isolated.
Additional movement requirements or restrictions have not been imposed by Florida or any other states at this time.
Horse owners are advised to utilize bio-security methods if they believe their horses could have been exposed. To report any suspected cases of EHV-1 in Florida, call 850-410-0900 Monday through Friday 8:00 am to 5:00 pm and 1-800-342-5869 after hours and weekends.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services says it with continue to work with HITS management, trainers and veterinarians to ensure proper safeguards are taken to prevent further spread of the disease.