The United States Virgin Islands has lifted its temporary ban on horses imported via Puerto Rico.
The ban was imposed by agriculture commission Louis Petersen following confirmation of a case of the venereal disease contagious equine metritis in Puerto Rico.
“After consultation with the US Department of Agriculture, it has been determined that introduction of the disease … no longer poses a threat to the Virgin Islands horse population,” he said.
“The infected horse and the horses in contact with her have been identified, quarantined and tested in Puerto Rico and have had no contact with other horses. Therefore, there is no danger now for horses traveling to the Virgin Islands to become infected with the disease.”
Dr Bethany Bradford, the islands’ director of veterinary services, said: “Because the disease has been contained, there is no reason to expect further infection in Puerto Rico so it is safe to lift the ban on imported horses.
“However, because the origin of the disease is still unknown, testing for this disease will now be required for mares and stallions coming from the United States and Puerto Rico.”
Bradford thanked horse owners for their patience. “I realize that this was inconvenient for many horse owners and for the racing industry. However, I believe most people understood the importance of protecting our horses and doing what is necessary to prevent disease outbreaks.”