Revised:  12/12/2008

Memo for December 9, 2008













New Jersey Department of Agriculture



To: Veterinarians

From: Nancy E. Halpern, DVM, State Veterinarian

Date: December 9, 2008

Re: Equine Herpes Virus 1 (EHV-1) Alert: Horse confirmed positive on Delaware horse farm.


On December 8, 2008, the Delaware State Veterinarian announced that PCR results from the University of Kentucky confirm a Standardbred horse in Kent County has tested positive for Equine Herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1). The horse began showing neurological signs of this highly infectious viral disease of horses on December 3. The horse's clinical signs progressed and it was euthanized at the farm on December 7. This horse had no record of racing, qualifying or training at Dover Downs. Both the Delaware Harness Racing Commission investigative unit and the Delaware Department of Agriculture are investigating this matter. The State Veterinarian's office and the owners of the horse farm have implemented biosecurity measures to prevent the spread of this disease. In addition, other horses on the premises that may have come in contact with the euthanized horse during his illness are being tested and monitored for clinical signs. This includes monitoring temperatures twice a day. Regular updates regarding this investigation will be available on the Delaware Department of Agriculture's website .


The EHV-1 organism spreads quickly from horse to horse and can cause respiratory problems especially in young horses, spontaneous abortions in pregnant mares, and the neurologic form of the virus can reach high morbidity and mortality rates.


NJDA recommends the implementation of precautionary measures that minimize the spread of agents of disease in the environment on any premises with potential contact with infected horses. The neurological form of EHV is considered a reportable disease in New Jersey. If you have a horse exhibiting neurological signs or suspect Equine Herpes please call the Division of Animal Health at 609-292-3965.


The NJDA Animal Health laboratory provides serological testing for EHV:


PCR testing
(Differentiates the respiratory and the neurologic strains)
Serum neutralization

(Can only detect EHV-1 - does not differentiate strains)

Price: $60.00 $15.00
Samples: nasal swabs, whole blood or tissue (use BHI or VTM swabs), whole blood (EDTA), tissue (sterile bag) Sample: 1 mL serum (blood in RTT)
Results: 2 days Test is only set-up on Tuesdays and Fridays


If a horse is exhibiting neurological signs, it is recommended to test by PCR. For further information, please contact Dr. Betty Miguel, Director, Animal Health Laboratory at 609-292-1270 or via email at






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