Analyzing an Outbreak: What About That Herd of EIA-Positive Horses in Arkansas?

This information is kindly provided by Dr. Scott Weese of the EquidBlog, published by the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph, as a follow-up to the state-provided information on Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) in Arkansas published on The Jurga Report earlier this week.

A large equine infectious anemia outbreak, hopefully contained to one farm, has claimed the lives of 40 Arkansas horses. Two horses on the Johnson County farm died from this viral disease, while 38 others were euthanized, presumably because they tested positive. Approximately 40 other horses are on the farm, and are presumably negative (at this time).

So far, the outbreak seems to be limited to this single farm. This farm only has one neighboring farm, and that farm is being investigated to see if the insect-borne disease has spread. The affected farm does not show horses or ‘sell any horses to any extent‘ , so hopefully the odds of the outbreak being contained are good.

A big question remains unanswered and is critical for determining whether this outbreak will be controlled. Where did it come from? Viruses don’t spontaneously occur, so there had to be a source of infection, and that source could have spread it elsewhere. With the large number of positive horses on this farm, it’s concerning that the virus could have been introduced a while ago, and the longer the timeframe, the harder it is to both track and control.

Dr. Scott Weese blogs on infectious diseases regularly and kindly agreed to share this post as a “guest blogger” while Fran Jurga is on half-speed while recovering from surgery. EquIDblog is an equine infectious disease and infection control educational endeavor of the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph. It is coordinated by Dr. Weese and Dr. Maureen Anderson, both of whom are large animal internal medicine specialists with expertise in infectious diseases and infection control.

Fran Jurga comments: “People always ask me what blogs I read, besides my own. Well, the list is long! But one blog I always read is? the EquidBlog. When the idea came up to have a guest blogger, there’s no question which one would be perfect for the first one! The EquidBlog is a tremendous resource for the horse world.”




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