Oregon authorities have now placed eight farms under quarantine from an outbreak of equine herpes virus (EHV-1). Four horses have now demonstrated neurological signs. Five additional exposed horses have developed fevers, but are not neurologic. All horses are being monitored by both their owners and veterinarians.
The infected horses had attended recent events off the farm, potentially exposing other horses to the disease. Agriculture officials were working to notify owners of potentially exposed horses and Oregon State Veterinarian Dr. Brad LeaMaster recommended that all horses that attended the April 16-18 Oregon High School Equestrian Team Willamette district gathering impose a self quarantine and refrain from leaving their home farm for the next 28 days.
Horses infected with EHV-1 can exhibit neurologic signs, which can include decreased coordination, hind limb weakness, leaning to maintain balance, lethargy, fever and nasal discharge.
EHV-1 is most commonly spread from direct horse-to-horse contact, but it can also be spread through contaminated equipment, clothes or hands. Though naturally occurring, the disease can cause abortion in mares, respiratory disease and even death.
Horse owners with concerns should contact their veterinarian.
The original horse in the outbreak was taken to the Large Animal Hospital at Oregon State University when she began exhibiting neurological signs. The property from which the mare had come was placed under quarantine, and two horses stabled there developed fevers, mild respiratory symptoms and tested positive for EHV-1, though no neurological signs have developed.
Three additional horses now have fevers.
On May 2, another horse was admitted with neurological signs to Oregon State University Large Animal Hospital, and then confirmed with EHV-1. It was determined that she had been stabled near horses that had attended the high school equestrian event.
Two additional horses have developed neurological signs and a total of eight farms are under quarantine in an effort to contain the spread of the disease.
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