Two horses positive for mutant strain of EHV-1 in Maryland

Equine herpes virus.
Equine herpes virus.

Two horses in the US state of Maryland have tested positive for the mutant strain of Equine Herpes Virus-1 (EHV-1), which can cause serious neurological disease.

The Maryland Department of Agriculture confirmed the two cases at a property in Montgomery County.

The department said the two horses remained at the property. The latest horse to test positive showed no symptoms and was diagnosed as a result of laboratory tests.

Both EHV-1 positive horses are under care by private veterinarians and are in strict isolation.

The first case, announced by the department in a statement on April 15, had been outside Montgomery County for breeding for more than two weeks before returning home on April 13.

The horse began showing mild respiratory and neurological signs and was seen by a private veterinarian, who reported the suspected neurological illness to the department, as required by law.

While at the breeding facility and during her first day home, the mare had exhibited no signs of illness.

Laboratory tests conducted by the department confirmed the diagnosis. The horse’s condition was improving at the time , and in the latest update was said to be free of symptoms.

All horses that were exposed to the two positive horses are currently free of symptoms and are being monitored daily, the department said. All appeared healthy.

Both the Montgomery County farm and the breeding facility that the mare had visited will remain under quarantine to ensure the virus does not spread.

The department said it believed the virus was contained to the two farms. It was not aware of any other EHV-1 cases in the state.

The department said it would continue to monitor the situation closely, and urged owners to contact their private veterinarians to arrange for EHV testing if any horses showed significant temperature elevations or neurologic signs. Veterinarians are required to report equine neurologic syndrome to the department.

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