Colorado Equine Herpes Quarantine Released

THE LAMAR LEDGER — JUNE 15, 2012 — The Colorado Department of Agriculture has released the quarantine placed on a Douglas County premises after a case of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1) was confirmed at the location.

“We are pleased with the release of the quarantine; the Department responded quickly to control this disease. The fact that there was only one confirmed case shows that the cooperative efforts of the premises and Colorado’s vigilant horse owners are a vital part of disease mitigation,” said State Veterinarian, Dr. Keith Roehr.

The affected horse was imported by a private owner from Iowa, through a transport company and was euthanized after showing severe neurological signs associated with the disease. Three facilities received horses from the same transport vehicle. Horses at those facilities remain free of clinical signs of EHV-1.

“While there was limited spread of this disease, it could have been much worse. We encourage horse owners and event managers to always observe basic biosecurity practices such as limiting horse-to-horse contact, separating feeding, watering and tack supplies, and eliminating shared water sources at events to minimize transmission of all infectious diseases,” continued Roehr.

EHV-1 is not transmissible to people; it can be a serious disease of horses that can cause respiratory, neurologic disease and death. The most common way for EHV-1 to spread is by direct horse-to-horse contact. The virus can also spread through the air, contaminated tack and equipment, clothing and hands.

The common vaccines available for EHV-1 immunization do not protect against the neurological form of EHV-1 disease which is commonly called equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy (EHM). These immunizations do protect against the respiratory and abortion forms of the disease. The vaccines are thought to reduce the shedding of the virus and may decrease the amount of circulating virus in the system of infected horses; therefore, vaccinations prior to exposure may help reduce the severity of infection. Horse owners should consult with a veterinarian to determine the best vaccination and treatment strategy for their horses.

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