Updated March 10: The third horse tested negative for EHV-1 on March 9.
A third possible case of EHV-1 has now been connected to Barn D at the World Equestrian Center, which is about to enter the 10th week of its 12-week “Winter Spectacular” hunter/jumper series in Ocala, Florida.
Horse show management was made aware in the late evening of Saturday, March 6, that a horse in Barn D was presenting with a high fever, according to a press release. They had the horse removed from the grounds and sent to the University of Florida for testing, isolation and observation.
Two other horses stabled in Barn D previously developed high fevers after leaving WEC and subsequently tested positive for EHV-1. Both horses came from the same home barn, Chestnut Hill, in Ocala.
“The first horse was gone from WEC for nine days when it developed symptoms and tested positive. A second horse from the same farm left WEC and days later was home when it got symptoms and subsequently tested positive,” said T.J. Campbell, WEC—Ocala horse show manager, in a statement issued mid-day Monday, March 8. As of press time they had not yet received results from the third horse’s test.
The index horse was housed in Barn D during Week 7, and the second horse also stabled in Barn D during Week 8. The second horse left the WEC Ocala facility on Feb. 25 and developed a fever on March 3 but has not exhibited neurologic signs. Both continue to be treated at separate isolation facilities.
The WEC management team and the on-site veterinarians have been in communication with Florida state officials, and Barn D has been placed under quarantine pending the results of the horse’s test. A perimeter fence has also been installed around Barn D and biosecurity measures, such as hand and foot sanitation, “have been installed and will be enforced by the WEC security team,” according to the press release, which states that horse showing will continue as scheduled.
Competitors are being asked to “continue to take the situation seriously and enforce biosecurity measures within their own stables,” the release stated.
In addition to the small cluster of cases in Ocala, there is a larger outbreak currently occurring in Spain that has led to the cancellation of all Fédération Equestre Internationale events in mainland Europe. An unconnected horse tested positive in Pennsylvania as well.
Visit FDACS.gov/ai for current information regarding the outbreak in Ocala, and the FEI’s EHV-1 timeline for information about other outbreaks around the world. For more information about equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy, the disease caused by EHV-1, go to the American Association of Equine Practitioners’ EHM Factsheet.