The official toll of the European EHV-1 outbreak is now 17, with the deaths of three more horses in Germany, two in Belgium and an additional horse at an equine hospital in Valencia, Spain.
Six other countries — France, Sweden, Italy, Switzerland, Britain and Qatar — also have confirmed cases.
More fatalities have been noted on social media, but horse sport’s governing body, the FEI, says the official and confirmed toll is 17.
The outbreak originated at a competition in Valencia, and led to the cancellation of FEI events in mainland Europe until April 11. The original shutdown was 28 days, but following a scientific risk assessment conducted by epidemiologist Dr Richard Newton and the FEI’s Veterinary Department, a further two-week shutdown was imposed last week. Events affected include the FEI Jumping and Dressage World Cup Finals in Sweden.
Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1) is a highly contagious virus that spreads between horses in close contact with one another. It can spread on people or objects but is more likely to spread horse to horse within the stable environment, and particularly in enclosed buildings with shared air spaces. It does not spread over long distances in the air and is unlikely to spread between different buildings or yards without the movement of horses, people or objects.
Clinical signs may include nasal discharge, cough, a rectal temperature greater than 38.3°C/101.5°F, enlarged submandibular lymph nodes and oedema of the limbs and/or ventral abdomen. Neurological signs can include urinary/faecal incontinence, penile prolapse, a weak tail, ataxia or being unable to stand.