Seven positive cases of the super-contagious Equine Herpes Virus 1 (EHV-1) have caused the quarantine of a popular horse show in Ocala, Florida, and several nearby equestrian facilities through March 14.
The United States Equestrian Federation posted a warning February 28 about the Equine Herpes Virus outbreak in Florida, advising horse owners and equestrian facility managers to implement biosecurity measures.
Six horses were confirmed with EHV-1 at a Horse Shows in the Sun (HITS) competition in Ocala. Another was found at a Wellington horse farm and may not be linked to the HITS event.
None of the horses diagnosed to-date seem to display neurological symptoms, which would point to the most dangerous and deadly form of EHV-1.
During the Florida horse quarantine, which affects hundreds of show horses from across the United States and abroad, veterinarians and local personnel will monitor the affected equines for fever, nasal discharge, and other Equine Herpes Virus symptoms.
The HITS show jumping competition continues, despite the quarantine.
These equestrian venues and stables have been quarantined for EHV-1:
- Black Forest Farm, St. Augustine
- Brookmore Farm, Oviedo
- FEI Tent at Wellington Show Grounds, Wellington
- Flutterby Farm, Ocala
- Foxwood Farms, Pinellas Park
- Kings Ridge Farm, Reddick
- Littlewood Farm, Wellington
- Miles Away Farm, Loxahatchee
- Montera Farm, Ocala
- Redfield Farm, Ocala
- Tequestrian Farm, Wellington
- Up Country Farm/Synergy Farm, Ocala
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services reported the EHV-1 diagnoses in a February 27 statement. The University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine is treating at least one of the affected horses.
“We’ve taken extraordinary measures to contain the spread [of EHV-1],” explained Adam Putnam, Florida’s agriculture commissioner February 28.
What is EHV-1?
Equine Herpes Virus 1 is a highly contagious infection that affects horses. Transmitted by horse-to-horse contact and by shared buckets or supplies, EHV-1 may cause respiratory disease, neurological damage, and even death.
A similar quarantine is ongoing in Cache County, Utah, since at least four horses were diagnosed with EHV-1 there as well. Two of the Utah horses have apparently been euthanized already.
The Horse Shows in the Sun, a well-known show jumping series, runs through mid-March at the HITS Showgrounds in Ocala.
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