The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services confirmed a diagnosis of equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy in two horses in Virginia. On Feb. 27, the State Veterinarian’s Office at VDACS confirmed that two horses exhibiting neurological signs tested positive for equine herpesvirus-1, the virus that causes EHM. Both horses were euthanized.
There is no link between the two horses and the timing of the EHM finding is coincidental. One horse was housed at the Hazelwild Equestrian Center in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and the second was located on a private farm in Powhatan County, Virigina. Both facilities have been placed under quarantine. All exposed horses are being monitored twice daily for fever and other clinical signs, and VDACS is working with the facility owners to determine if any exposed horses have left the premises. Owners of exposed horses will be notified and are advised to isolate and observe their horses closely for signs of the disease.
Updated March 1: No additional Virginia horses have been exposed. Several horses from Maryland visited the Hazelwild Equestrian Center last weekend for an Interscholastic Equestrian Association show. The farms associated with these horses have been quarantined, and all horses will be monitored. The immediate neighbor of the Powhatan County farm is voluntarily quarantining their horses due to casual contact. No Virginia horses have had any contact with either property, including trail riders.
Updated March 26: The VDACS stated that since the quarantine at Hazelwild began four horses in the school barn developed fevers and tested positive for EHV-1, but no horses developed neurologic signs. None of the boarding horses have tested positive, and the boarding barn was released from quarantine on March 20. The school barn will remain under quarantine for 21 days after the last clinical case.
The second unrelated farm in Powhatan was also placed under quarantine for EHM on February 27. The remaining horses showed no further signs of illness and that farm was released from quarantine on March 21.