Revised:  05/22/2008

Memo for January 9, 2006













New Jersey Department of Agriculture, Division of Animal Health



To: Veterinarians

From: Nancy E. Halpern, D.V.M., State Veterinarian

Date: January 9, 2006

Re: Five Horses Isolated at Pimlico Due to Suspected Herpes Case


         A suspected case of equine herpesvirus has caused officials at Pimlico Race Course to isolate five horses in the detention barn and put a hold order on Barn 5 at the Baltimore, Md. track as a precautionary measure. The Maryland Department of Agriculture is awaiting test results to determine if a horse stabled in the barn, which was euthanatized earlier this week, was infected.


     Equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1) causes upper respiratory infection and can also cause neurological disease, which five other horses in Barn 5 have experienced.


     The hold order affects the barn that houses horses trained by William Christmas, Charles Frock, Robert Gamber, Hassan Elamri, and David Mohan. Horses conditioned by those trainers are not allowed to race until further notice. Beginning tomorrow, the 40 horses remaining in the barn will be allowed to train from 10-11 a.m. The other 500 horses based at Pimlico will train from 5:30-9:30 a.m.


     The hold order, which restricts the movement of horses to and from the affected barn, is a precautionary measure to prevent any possible spread of illness among horses while we wait for diagnostic test results. Track management is working to keep the healthy horses in training while protecting the health of all other horses at the facility. They are athletes and need to stay in their routine as long as the investigation permits.


     The Pimlico spring meeting begins in mid-April.


     There is currently no known method to reliably prevent the neurologic form of EHV-1 infection. It is recommended to maintain appropriate vaccination procedures to reduce the incidence of the respiratory form of EHV-1 infection; this may also help prevent the neurologic form. Transmission of the virus can occur via coughing or sneezing over a distance of up to 35 feet as well as by direct contact with infected horses, feed and equipment.


     The Maryland Department of Agriculture placed an initial "Investigational Animal Hold Order" on Jan. 5. Maryland Jockey Club officials say that even before that time, no non-resident horses came in contact with the affected horses or the barn in which they are housed. Based on clinical signs, there is no reason to believe that there is any human health risk.





A Proactive Approach to Fighting Equine West Nile Virus in New Jersey


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