11 EHV Horse Deaths, 75 Confirmed Cases in western outbreak–Latest US Govt Report

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Eleven horses have died or been euthanized in the equine herpes virus outbreak in the western United States and 75 cases have been confirmed in nine states, according to the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture report released Friday, a sharp increase over a week ago.

The nine states with 75 confirmed cases of EHV/EHM–58 traced to the National Cutting Horse Western Championships in Ogden, Utah, at the beginning of May–were identified as Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington.

The vast geographic area being monitored in the outbreak of the the highly contagious Equine Herpes Virus and the associated neurological version identified as EHM was shown by the report listing more than 2,000 horses in 244 locations in 19 states, as far east as Illinois. Of those, however, the report listed 61 premises in 12 states with confirmed EHV/EHM, an increase of 15 over the previous week,

The latest report by the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service came a week after its previous tally on May 19 which reported seven deaths and 34 confirmed cases. The complete report is available by clicking here: ehv_2011_sitrep_052611.

The outbreak in the western states surpassed one of the previous worst outbreaks among show horses, in South Florida in December, 2006, resulting in six deaths and threatening Florida’s winter circuit, the world’s largest horse show. It was contained by the imposition of stringent quarantine measures.

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

Some competitions that went ahead enforced biosecurity procedures that included backup quarantine stabling and round-the-clock veterinary care. However, widespread withdrawals were reported as competitors heeded recommendations to contain the outbreak and stayed home.

Among the competitions going ahead as scheduled over the Memorial Day weekend was 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 and nine confirmed 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.

High Prairie Dressage in the Denver suburb of Parker that was scheduled for June 2-5 was also 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.

Oregon, Colorado and Wyoming have imposed regulations on horses transported from other states.