Horse in Loxahatchee Develops EHV-1 Neurological Signs, 2nd To Do So in Florida Outbreak
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A horse that was among four in Loxahatchee that tested positive for EHV-1, equine herpes virus, has developed neurological signs of the virus, the second horse in the current outbreak to do so.
Confirmation of the horse with neurological signs was reported late Friday by the Florida Department of Agriculture’s Division of Animal Industry that has been tracking the outbreak of the virus since it first appeared at the Horse Shows in the Sun HITS show grounds in Ocala, Florida, Feb. 20.
The horse involved in the latest neurological finding has been shipped to the Univerity of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine in Gainesville, where the first horse that tested positive for EHV-1 wild strain with neurological signs was also admitted on Feb.20.
Both horses with neurological signs–the form that is of serious concern to veterinarians and horse owners–had been stabled at the HITS show grounds in Ocala, 240 miles (386km) north of Wellington where the Winter Equestrian Festival of jumpers and hunters and several dressage competitions over the winter months make up the world’s largest horse show circuit.
However, horses from Ocala had been transported to Palm Beach where Wellington is located, including four that went to Miles Away Farm in Loxahatchee, a rural community that adjoins Wellington and where the Palm Beach Dessage Derby is being held this weekend. A handful of competitors scratched from the derby because of concerns over the EHV-1 cases. The organizers banned entries from Ocala.
Since the first positive testing, six additional horses that are linked to the HITS Show in Ocala have tested positive for EHV-1 wild type, one at Redfield Farm in Ocala and four at Miles Away Farm in Loxahatchee, Florida.
“One of the positive horses located at Miles Away Farm has developed neurological signs today (Friday) and is being treated at the University of Florida, College of Veterinary Medicine,” the state agency reported.
“While the additional positive horses were detected after leaving the (HITS) Showgrounds, they resided in Tent 3 and Tent 6 in proximity to Tent 7 which housed the index case.
“With evidence of more widespread exposure, the HITS Showgrounds have been placed under quarantine.”
A sixth horse located at Calder Farm in Ocala had no clinical signs of disease and “continues to remain clinically healthy with no signs of EHV-1 infection.”
A horse not believed to be linked with any of the HITS-associated quarantined premises has also been positive for EHV-1. This horse is located at Tequestrian Farm in Wellington.
The Division of Animal Industry said it is continuing disease investigation and developing protocols for surveillance and quarantine release measures.
An Incident Command Team comprised of state and federal personnel has been mobilized to implement appropriate control measures.
The FEI tent at Wellington Showgrounds was released from quarantine Thursday after test results for the horses were negative.
–HITS Showgrounds, Ocala – Entire facility;
–Up Country Farm/Synergy Farm, Ocala;
–Montera Farm, Ocala;
–Flutterby Farm, Ocala;
–Redfield Farm, Ocala
–Foxwood Farms, Pinellas Park;
–Black Forest Farm, St. Augustine;
–POD-F Farm (Littlewood Farm), Wellington;
–Tequestrian Farm, Wellington;
–Brookmore Farm, Oviedo;
–Kings Ridge Farm, Reddick, and
–Miles Away Farm, Loxahatchee.
Quarantines listed above do not necessarily encompass the entire premises.
Premises Released from Quarantine:
–FEI tent at Wellington Showgrounds.
Recommendations for horses that have shown at HITS since Feb. 5, 2013 include close monitoring of animals, reporting of fevers greater than 101.50F (40.8C) and strict bio-security measures for at least 21 days after departure from HITS.