Tuesday, December 19, 2006

EVH-1 Outbreak Update: Scary times for Horse Owners in South Florida

These are scary times for the horse community due to confirmed outbreaks of the deadly and highly contagious equine herpes virus at prestigious shows in Wellington, FL- cancelling major shows. All are waiting on pins and needles hoping for the best: a major horse health crisis hopefully avoided. Health officials are "optimistic" that since this virus was detected early with quarantine procedures quickly enforced that the worst has been avoided despite the loss of several beloved horses and at least 15 confirmed cases displaying neurological symptoms.

State Veterinarians held an informational press conference last weekend outlining the facts of this outbreak, and discussed biosecurity precautions for those in the affected areas of Wellington, FL. Officials asked that people NOT ship horses to or from Wellington for seven days.

The rumormill is in overdrive. One rumor circulating is that an infected horse was present at a recent St. Louis Hunter Jumper Show. Several horses at this show were voluntarily quarantined on the show grounds in an isolated barn on the complex- far away from other barns.
Luckily, this proved to be a false alarm and thus far, no horses at this show according to show officials and St. Louis Veterinarian's were exposed to EVH-1 or at risk of developing it.

A farm near Knoxville, TN; however, is under voluntary quarantine. A horse from a New York quarantine facility tested positive for EVH-1 and died on it's way to California. This horse had a lay-over at the Knoxville facility on it's way to California. Reports are unclear as to if the California horse died en route to California or at a facility in California. Unfortunatley, there has been no official statement as to any California location quarantines. Ther has been no outbreak of EVH-1 thankfully at the Knoxville, TN farm.

The racing community is now holding it's breath too. A racehorse in Ocala, FL has EVH-1. It was in contact with an infected horse at a Veterinary clinic in Wellington prior to shipping to Ocala, where it became ill. This racehorse belongs to Tuxedo Farms. The farm is under quarantine, and the horse is in isolation. Tracks in and around Ocala, as well as the Tampa area are taking action to prevent more cases. Many are not allowing incoming horses into track facilities currently. For the latest updates and news feeds regarding this viral outbreak, please visit: http://www.topix.net

No comments: