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EHV-1 tally 34, 13 with neurological symptoms

May 22, 2011


The total of confirmed cases of Equine Herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1) in Western US states has risen to 34, with 13 horses showing neurological symptoms.

Death toll

As at 25.6.2011

New Mexico
About EHV

The latest horse added to the official tally being collated by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the US Department of Agriculture was a horse in Arizona.

Not all horses infected with EHV-1 will show neurological symptoms. The neurologic form of EHV-1 is called Equine Herpes Virus Myeloencephalopathy (EHM). The most common symptoms are poor co-ordination, weakness, the horse may lie down and be unable to rise, and may suffer bladder weakness.

APHIS reports that owners of horses known to have been exposed in this incident have been contacted by state animal health officials.

Suspected and confirmed cases are under voluntary or state quarantine, as are known as exposed horses.

In all, 308 horses were exposed at the Ogden, Utah, cutting horse event from which it has spread, and APHIS lists 729 secondarily exposed.

The confirmed cases of EHV-1 are in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington.

Of the 34 confirmed cases, 33 cases are horses that were at the Ogden, Utah event.

The death toll remains at seven.

The outbreak has led to widespread event cancellations across many states, and experts have urged equestrians to avoid non-essential transport of their horses.

Dr David Wilson
University of California, Davis, senior equine veterinarian David Wilson, who is director of the university's William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, said: "We urge horse owners and co-ordinators of upcoming equine events to educate themselves on the virus and to exercise the utmost caution as they determine whether to participate in or host events that could increase their animals' exposure to this potentially life-threatening disease.

Another equine veterinarian at the hospital, Gary Magdesian, urged owners to avoid any non-essential transport of their horses, mules and donkeys.

He added that alpacas, llamas and other camelid species are rarely affected by equine herpes virus.

Authorities urge veterinarians issuing Certificates of Veterinary Inspection for interstate movements to contact the state of destination to ensure horses meet requirements for entry.

Some western states, among them Colorado and Wyoming, have amended their requirements for horses entering their states.

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