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Burlington County Horse Tests Positive for EHV-1

A Burlington County premise was placed under quarantine by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture after a 5 years old unvaccinated horse was diagnosed with equine herpes myeloencephalopathy (EHM) caused by equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1).  The horse had rapid progression of clinical signs typical of EHV-1 including front and rear ataxia, hind limb weakness, stumbling, and right facial paralysis.  The horse was humanely euthanized on Saturday, February 14, 2015. Twenty one day quarantine was placed on the barn and biosecurity measures are in effect for the duration of the quarantine.  Additionally, all remaining horses will have temperature monitored twice a day.  Horse movement in and out of the premises has been analyzed and traces are being followed. To date there are no other sick animals on the premises.

EHV-1 spreads quickly from horse to horse, has a high morbidity and can cause a wide range of symptoms, from a complete lack of clinical signs to respiratory problems, especially in young horses, and spontaneous abortions in pregnant mares.  Transmission of the virus is mostly via direct contact with infected materials; therefore, tack must not be shared between horses and biosecurity measures must be utilized.  While highly infectious, the virus does not persist in the environment and is neutralized by hand soap, alcohol-based hand sanitizers, and sunlight. More information on the Equine Herpes Virus can be found at the New Jersey Department of Agriculture website. http://www.state.nj.us/agriculture/divisions/ah/diseases/equineherpesvirus.html

EHM is a reportable disease and must be reported to the Division of Animal Health at 609-671-6400.  The New Jersey Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory (609-406-6999) recommends PCR testing for horses exhibiting neurological signs. Please contact the laboratory for more information on EHV-1 and other tests offered for equines.