Five Iowa Horses Being Monitored for Equine Herpes Virus



Several horses recently competing in the National Cutting Horse Association Western National Championship in Ogden, Utah, on April 29 to May 8, have been diagnosed with Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1), according to 2011 Incident Information. Reports of affected horses have been received from multiple states and western Canada, with several fatalities. At this time, Animal Health Monitoring and Surveillance (APHIS) understands the virus to be present in horses that attended the cutting horse event and horses that came into contact with those that attended the event.

Dr. David Schmitt, DVM, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship was notified about some horses that developed the neurologic form of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1) after attending a national cutting horse event in Utah. “Five of the horses that attended the event are located at stables in Iowa,” Schmitt said. “The good news is that I have still not had any reports of clinical disease in any of these horses in Iowa.”

Peggy Miller-Auwerda, Iowa State University Extension equine specialist, said the APHIS situation report also indicates that the Iowa horses are under voluntary or state quarantine and are being monitored. “The virus can spread through the air, contaminated equipment, clothing and hands,” Miller-Auwerda said. “EHV-1 infection in horses can cause respiratory disease, abortion in mares, neonatal foal death and/or neurologic disease.”

EHV-1 is endemic to the United States and is usually handled by the states involved; USDA becomes involved in cases involving multiple states or movement of horses across state lines. APHIS will continue to monitor the situation and work with the states to make decisions as needed to control the spread of the virus. USDA has posted links with information about EHV-1 and a copy of the situation report at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/vs/nahss/equine/ehv/.

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