Fourth Equine Herpes Virus Case Identified in Michigan

State Clarifies How EHV-1Spreads After Horse Show Exposure
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The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) issued an update to the Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1) case count in that state on Tuesday, April 7, 2015. The number of cases is now increased to four. One horse has been euthanized and three horses are being treated under quarantine situations.

To avoid risk of interpretation error, the announcement is posted here for your information and includes some helpful information for horse owners whose horses are not directly affected by the current outbreak and quarantine situation.

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MDARD made the announcement on the agency's Facebook page, which meant that the update does not show up in RSS feeds the way that announcements on RSS-enabled websites do. If you have a Facebook account and live in Michigan, you can click on "get notifications" under the "like" pull-down menu button on the MDARD page, and every bit of the agency's news will come to you as a notification, including equine disease alerts. Just "liking" the page will not guarantee that you will see the page's announcements in your newsfeed.

Here is the update from MDARD for Tuesday, April 7, 2015:


"A fourth horse was recently found (in Michigan) to be positive for EHV-1. This horse is the second horse to be found positive on a quarantined farm in Saginaw County (Michigan). The horse is under veterinary care. This means that there are 2 positive horses (1 was already euthanized) at the Livingston County quarantined index farm and 2 positive horses at a quarantined Saginaw County farm.


"MDARD continues to follow up on all horses potentially exposed to the first Michigan EHV-1 positive horse reported on March 19. At this time, we consider all horses that attended a March 7 event in Barry County to be at the highest risk of exposure. We know from the progression of this outbreak that a secondary transmission is occurring. In other words, horses that attended the March 7 event may have been infected, shown only minimal signs of disease (fever, possibly a runny nose) and spread the disease to another horse.


"If you have a horse that attended the March 7 event in Barry County and brought your horse home where there are other horses, those other horses are still at risk for getting and spreading disease. As MDARD finds these situations, additional quarantines may be placed for enforced isolation and monitoring of horse health.


"There has been a lot of rumor regarding a travel ban for Michigan horses, this is untrue. Healthy horses who have had no exposure are under no travel restrictions. The best thing you can do for your horse is make informed choices. For example, if you had a horse at the March 7 event in Barry County, keep that horse, and all other horses, at your farm or stable until the likelihood of disease spread is minimized. 


"The possibility of disease spread is minimized when all horses at the farm or stable have had no fever or other signs of disease for 28 days.


"For horses who may be traveling out of state, you should work with your local veterinarian to obtain an interstate health certificate and your vet will determine if your horse should travel.


"MDARD is compiling a 'Frequently Asked Questions' list that will be posted tomorrow outlining quarantines and what that means, enforcement, bio-security, and more on the www.michigan.gov/equinediseases webpage and on the MDARD Facebook page."