Horse quarantine measures lifted at Arizona racetrack

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Equine herpes virus.
The equine herpes virus.

Authorities in Arizona have lifted the quarantine on a Phoenix racetrack after a case of equine herpesvirus-1 in a horse that arrived from another race facility.

Arizona’s state veterinarian and the Department of Agriculture confirmed on Thursday that the quarantine of horses at the Turf Paradise Racetrack was over.

It was imposed after three horses had arrived at Turf Paradise from New Mexico’s Sunland Park track, where an ongoing outbreak of the virus has so far infected 72 horses, six of whom had to be euthanized because of neurological problems.

Sunland’s first case was confirmed on January 21. Another two infected horses in Texas have also been linked to the outbreak.

The Sunland Park trio had left the facility just before quarantine restrictions were imposed over the outbreak, arriving at Turf Paradise on January 20.

One of the three subsequently developed neuorological disease arising from EHV-1 and had to be euthanized. Containment efforts at Turf Paradise proved successful, with no other horses affected.

“We ordered the quarantine to protect Arizona horses from a potentially deadly disease,” said Mark Killian, who is director of Arizona’s Department of Agriculture.

“While these restrictions seem severe, they were absolutely necessary and, as intended, successful.”

For the last 21 days, strict biosecurity measures have prevented the spread of the disease.

Dr Susan Gale, acting state veterinarian, said the hard work of Turf Paradise management had prevented the isolated case from becoming an outbreak.

“The quick action of the state and cooperation of Arizona horsemen, the Racing Commission and the track were key to our success.”

Races have continued at Turf Paradise during the quarantine.

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