Florida Disease Update: Four Additional Horses Infected with EP


(This information is provided by the State of Florida. Please see the previous post on this blog about Equine Piraplasmosis (EP) in Florida for much more in-depth information. This post is simply an update.)

Further testing on samples from horses on the index premises in Manatee County, have
indicated that four additional horses on the premises are infected with the organism that
causes Equine Piroplasmosis (EP). The four positive horses were stabled in the barn with the
initial clinical horse. All other horses on the premises, which are managed separately from the
horses in the barn, were negative on testing. In addition, 20 ticks found at the premises were
identified as the Gulf Coast tick (Amblyomma maculatum), which has not been shown to
transmit the disease between horses.

The preliminary investigation indicates that the transmission on the index premises may have
been caused by use of common needles between horses and not spread naturally by a tick
vector. The Department is continuing its investigation including additional horse and tick
surveillance of the area. As a precaution, 3 adjacent premises and 1 contact premises have
been placed under quarantine pending further sample collection and testing.

Today the State of Florida issued an additional update:

While Tropical Storm Fay delayed investigation efforts earlier in the week, additional samples were collected and tick inspections performed yesterday. Further horse testing and tick surveillance will continue over the weekend.

Currently the only premises with evidence of EP is the one index premise in Manatee County. There have been no additional clinical cases reported at this time.

While no states have restricted movement of Florida horses, Canada has advised the United States Department of Agriculture they will not accept horses originating from Manatee County, effective immediately. This ban will stay in effect until further notice.