The Aiken Standard, a newspaper in horsey Aiken, South Carolina, has a report today that clarifies reports of an "outbreak" of Equine Herpes virus (EHV), Type 1, in Aiken.
Apparently only one horse is affected and is being isolated and treated.
Among other things, the article says:
"There isn't an outbreak of equine herpes in Aiken County," said Dr. Jamie Carter of Southern Equine Services, who is treating the horse.
"The horse is being treated and recovering very nicely. It was a voluntary quarantine at the farm, and no other horses on the farm have shown any symptoms."
The article goes on to quote Dr. Nicola Pusterla of the University of California at Davis, in an article in EQUUS Magazine. It does not mention what the origin of the horse's infection was or if the horse is a show or race horse that may have been off the farm recently. Many horses test positive for the disease without showing symptoms; symptoms (fever, nasal discharge, etc.) may erupt after a stressful incident.
EHV-1, sometimes called "rhino" or just "flu" in conversation, is a highly contagious viral disease. A powerful strain causing neurological symptoms is a great cause for concern when new cases are found.
The disease is spread primarily by horse-to-horse contact and by contamination, ckets, tack or almost any equipment or physical structure that can become infected when a horse sneezes.
Horse owners should know that state regulations regarding notification about contagious horse diseases vary from state to state and between diseases. In most states, the barn next door to yours could be experiencing an outbreak, but you wouldn't know it unless the information was publicized. In other states, cases must be reported to the state veterinarian's office.