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December 31, 2013

EHV-1 Confirmed In North Carolina

Implementing good biosecurity practices, including limiting nose-to-nose contact, is one way to help prevent the spread of EHV-1. Photo by Mollie Bailey.

A stable in Wake County, N.C., has reported cases of the neurological form of the equine herpes virus, EHV-1. The North Carolina Department Of Agriculture And Consumer Services released an update Dec. 30 stating that the facility is quarantined.

"Strict biosecurity measures have been in place since Dec. 23," stated the release. "All animals are having temperatures monitored twice a day, and no horses have had fevers or other clinical signs since Friday, Dec. 27, the first day there were confirmed lab results from the National Veterinary Services Laboratory. The quarantine will be held for 28 days after the last fever is recorded."

Though Dr. Tom Ray, director of livestock health for the NCDA&CS, couldn’t release the number of horses euthanized during the outbreak, he did note that there were some deaths.

In addition, five horses were moved from the original facility in the last month, and they have all been located in North Carolina and are being monitored. They must remain isolated for 28 days from when they left the original stable. 

"All known exposed horses have been accounted for, are not showing clinical signs and have not been moved," stated the release. "No additional horses have been moved from any of the known sites.

"At this point, we believe this is an isolated incident with low risk to other horses," it continued. "However, we do encourage horse owners to practice good biosecurity measures as a precaution. EHV-1 is not a reportable disease to the Office of the State Veterinarian under state law, however, the office appreciates being made aware of suspicious cases and will offer help in controlling the disease. The last known case in North Carolina was in January 2012."

Dr. Ray added that concerned horse owners can monitor their horses for a spike in temperature—often an early sign of the disease.

"Good biosecurity is the main thing since there’s no treatment or cure," he said. "Nose-to-nose contact is a higher risk. Sharing tack is also a risk."


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