Another case of EHV-1 has been identified at the Marion, Florida, stables under quarantine amid concerns that a very aggressive strain of the neurologic form of the virus may spread from Europe the the United States.
According to the Equine Disease Communication (EDCC), the second horse has a fever but is not currently showing neurologic signs. Both horses had been housed in the same barn at the World Equestrian Center in Ocala and are now in a separate isolation facility. The following statement appeared on the EDCC website:
As of March 3, 2021, the affected horse (index) continues to be treated in a separate isolation facility. A second horse stalled immediately adjacent to the index horse while at the farm has also been confirmed positive as of March 4th. This second horse is not exhibiting neurologic symptoms, although it has been febrile and is being treated at the separate isolation facility.
The Division of Animal Industry placed the premises under quarantine and immediately began a disease investigation. The index horse was housed at the World Equestrian Center Barn D during week 7 and the second horse was housed in Barn D during week 8.
The second horse left the World Equestrian Center on February 25th, 2021. The investigation continues and additional information will be provided as available.
The Division of Animal Industry continues to stress the need for horse owners and trainers to enact strict biosecurity measures to include monitoring the horse’s health and taking temperatures twice per day for at least 14 days. Biosecurity measures are key to rapid resolution and can effectively break the cycle of transmission of EHV-1. Additional movement requirements or restrictions have not been imposed by Florida or any other states at this time.
EHV-1 most often causes mild-to-moderate respiratory illness (rhinopneumonitis), but the infection occasionally leads to the life-threatening neurologic disease equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy (EHM). The mechanisms through which EHV-1 produces neurologic disease are not yet understood.
The emergence of a very aggressive strain of neurologic EHV-1 in Spain led the Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI), the international governing body of Olympic equestrian disciplines, to cancel nearly all competitions on mainland Europe earlier this week until at least March 28.
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