California Only State to Report New EHV-1 Case in Western USA

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California was the only state to report a new case of equine herpes virus Tuesday, with other states cautiously optimistic that tight quarantine of horses was containing the disease that has caused 12 deaths and 80 confirmed cases in the western United States.

In the first reports since the Memorial Day holiday weekend, the California Department of Food and Agriculture reported one new new confirmed case of Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy (EHM), a mutated neurological offshoot of EHV-1. That brought the state’s total confirmed cases to 20 since the outbreak began among horses that attended the National Cutting Horse Western Championships in Ogden, Utah in early May.

All of California’s cases have involved horses that participated in or were exposed to horses in the Ogden competition or another cutting horse show in Bakersfield, California.

The 12 deaths have been reported from Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Oregon and Utah.

“The encouraging news for us is that we have not seen any new confirmed cases in Colorado since May 20, 2011 and we hope that trend continues but we still cannot let down our guard as we work to mitigate and control EHV-1,”
said Dr. Keith Roehr, Colorado State Veterinarian.

Dave E. Fly, New Mexico’s State Veterinarian, “Only a limited number of identified new cases of EHV-1 were reported in the Western States since May 26, 2011. All new cases have occurred on premises under quarantine or hold order. No evidence exists to suggest any new cases of EHV-1 beyond the parameters of the quarantined premises. In New Mexico, exposed horses remain on three quarantined premises.

“It is thought that the EHV-1 virus has established itself in the Western States’ horse population. Hence, horse owners will need to remain vigilant regarding preventive medical and biosecurity measures. Horse owners should develop plans for horses returning to their premises from equine events. This concept is also prudent for horse stables that house horses belonging to multiple owners.”

Oregon, Colorado, Washington and Wyoming have imposed tougher measures on horses transported from other states, while some other states have urged limiting movement of horses in an effort to contain the outbreak.

The western outbreak has led to the cancellation of dozens of horse shows, including several dressage competitions.