Revised:  07/09/2008













Animal Health Emergency Management and
Information Network
Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture
Bureau of Animal Health and
Diagnostic Services
Paul Knepley, DVM, Director
Telephone No: 717-772-2852
Fax No: 717-787-1868


Notification: Equine Herpes Virus - 1


April 9, 2008


DISCLAIMER: This notification does not constitute a press release from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. The content is intended for the informational purposes of those involved in the animal health community in the Commonwealth.


A horse training facility in Bucks County, Pennsylvania recently had a horse test positive for EHV-1. The horse did succumb to the disease on April 3, 2008. The afflicted horse was previously treated for a wound prior to clinical signs. The horse had limited exposure to the other horses because of stall rest. The premise has been quarantined to horse movement.


In tracing horse movement related to the premise, horses were recently moved off the premise to three (3) separate premises that are quarantined in Bucks and Carbon counties. There are a total of 43 horses under quarantine at this time at four (4) premises. No identified horse movement was related to the outbreak at Murray State University in Kentucky. See recent posting below.


Please contact David Zellner if you have further questions at 717-772-2852 or


Murray State University Takes Precautions Against Spread of Equine Herpesvirus


Date: 9 Apr 2008

Source: The Horse [edited]


One horse at the Murray State University Equine Unit in Murray, KY, has tested positive for equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy caused by equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1), according to Rusty Ford, equine programs manager with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, and information provided by Murray State University.


The Kentucky State Veterinarian's office issued a quarantine at the Murray State University Equine Unit on Tuesday, 8 Apr 2008, after a student boarder's horse showed symptoms consistent with neurologic EHV-1. The horse was immediately transported from the site to an equine hospital in Lexington, KY. The diagnosis was confirmed by PCR laboratory testing late Tuesday evening.


A total of 128 horses are under quarantine until testing is complete. No other horses at this time (9 Apr 2008) were showing clinical signs consistent with the neurologic form of EHV-1.


Officials with Kentucky Department of Agriculture have ordered biosecurity measures at the student barn and the university equine barns.


Signs of equine herpesvirus most commonly include fever and an upper respiratory tract infection. The signs can also include lethargy, loss of appetite, nasal discharge, and coughing. In the neurologic cases, horses can suffer a loss of coordination, an inability to stand, inability to control the bladder, and the illness can be fatal in horses that become recumbent.


The virus can be spread through the respiratory tract of the horse, although studies on the virus indicate that it is very short-lived in the environment and is easily killed by disinfectants. The maximum extent of the airborne transmission of the virus is believed to be less than 75 feet. Horses can also contract the disease if they come in contact with the clothing or hands of a person who has worked with an infected horse, the tack or equipment worn by an infected horse, or a shared food or water source with an infected horse.


Ford and Kentucky State Veterinarian Robert Stout, DVM, said implementation of the quarantine and its associated biosecurity measures was ordered in an effort to contain and isolate any possible EHV-1 cases to the affected barn and minimize the spread of the virus among the horse population at Murray State University.


"Quick response by Murray State University and the implementation of biosecurity measures should minimize the spread of the virus," said Ford. Diagnostic testing to more accurately define the situation is underway at the Breathitt Veterinary Center in Hopkinsville, KY.


The imposed quarantine does not affect scheduled events at the William "Bill" Cherry Exposition Center. After thorough assessment of the premises, officials with the Kentucky State Veterinarian's Office and Breathitt Veterinary Center are confident that with implementation of biosecurity measures, the Exposition Center is a safe environment for equine activities to continue as scheduled.


The situation will remain under the surveillance of the state veterinarian's office. The disease management strategies will be re-evaluated as test results become available.


[Byline: Kimberly S. Brown, editor]


DISCLAIMER: This notification does not constitute a press release from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. The content is intended for the informational purposes of those involved in the animal health community in the Commonwealth.







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