Equine Herpes Virus Appears Abating in Western USA

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A single new confirmed case of equine herpes virus was reported Tuesday among horses infected in the outbreak that has led to the deaths of eight horses in the western U.S. All official cutting horse competitions were canceled through June 5 “in a nationwide show of precaution and solidarity to help stop the spread of the contagious and potentially deadly” virus.

In the 13 states directly affected by the outbreak that have reported the eight deaths, 44 confirmed cases and an equal number of suspected cases of Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy, a mutated neurological version of EHV-1, all but a small number of dressage competitions reported they were going ahead for the Memorial Day weekend.

California’s Department of Food and Agriculture, which has reported the largest number of confirmed cases–18 total comprising 16 participants in the National Cutting Horse Western Championships in Ogden, Utah, and two from a show in Bakersfield, California–issued biosecurity procedures it suggested show organizers implement to deal with the outbreak. The CDFA said horses suspected of being infected should remain quarantined for 14 days after the last confirmation.

No horses from any other discipline or from any competition other than the two cutting horse shows have been infected, according to reports compiled by dressage-news.com.

However, the Florida Department of Agriculture reported Tuesday that two horses with complications from EHV-1 had been euthanized in Alachua County, home of the University of Florida and adjacent to horse-intensive Ocala. There was no connection, the state government said in a statement, to the outbreak in the western U.S.

The virus does not affect humans and is spread by contact for up to 30 days. The California Department of Food and Agriculture said quarantine of it would

The sole confirmed new case of the outbreak was reported by the Nevada state government which said it was on a farm already quarantined and was a “mild” form. The infected horse was expected to fully recover.

Among the competitions going ahead as scheduled over the Memorial Day weekend is Dressage at Flintridge in La Cañada-Flintridge in Los Angeles, that is the second of three qualifying shows across the country for young horses seeking to represent the U.S. at the world young dressage horse championships in Verden, Germany, in August.

Other U.S. Equestrian Federation-sanctioned competitions proceeding in the west include Dressage Derby I and II in Vacaville, California, Friday through Sunday and the 16th annual Spokane Sport Horse Spring Dressage in Washington.

In Colorado where two deaths, nine confirmed and 22 suspected cases were reported earlier in the outbreak, Dressage in the Plains I and II in Peyton scheduled for Friday through Sunday and the Whispering Winds schooling show in Monument were canceled.

The Oregon Dressage Society advised that the Fort Vancouver Dressage Show and the Twin Rivers Summer Sizzler Practice Show scheduled for the Memorial Day weekend would not be held because of concerns over the EHV-1 outbreak and that many barns were voluntarily imposing a quarantine on their facilities.

Twin Rivers Chapter has announced that the previously scheduled “Summer Sizzler Practice Show”

Oregon joined Colorado and Wyoming in tightening regulations on horses imported from other states.