Report: Equine Herpesvirus Case Confirmed At Fair Grounds

by  | 12.26.2016 | 10:27pm 

Fair Grounds Race Course
Fair Grounds Race Course

Fair Grounds officials on Monday have taken preliminary steps to quarantine a barn in which a horse tested positive for equine herpesvirus, Daily Racing Form reports. The report was based on confirmation by Jason Boulet, the track’s senior director of racing.

A Fair Grounds trainer who spoke to the Paulick Report said test results came back Monday confirming the finding.

Equine herpesvirus, a highly contagious disease. has one strain, EHV-1, that can be accompanied by neurological symptoms and may prove fatal for some horses. Daily Racing Form reported, based on a source familiar with the situation, that the horse testing positive died on Sunday.

Officials with the Louisiana Department of Agriculture & Forestry were expected to be at Fair Grounds early Tuesday morning to determine what quarantine protocols will be necessary.

There are nine strains of equine herpesvirus on record, and many horses are exposed to some form of EHV with no serious side effects or symptoms. Three strains are considered serious health risks, including EHV-1, which may present with fever and respiratory symptoms and can also carry neurological symptoms and a risk of death. Symptoms of the neurologic form of EHV-1 include fever and nasal discharge, followed by lack of coordination, lethargy, head tilt, and inability to balance or stand. EHV-1 is highly contagious and may be transmitted through contaminated equipment, contact between horses, and on clothing or hands of humans working with sick horses. Veterinarians aren’t sure how long the virus can survive in the environment, or how well it travels through the air. The Paulick Report compiled a list of frequently-asked questions about EHV-1 during an outbreak at Sunland Park earlier this year.

The most recent case of equine herpesvirus at a racetrack occurred at Gulfstream Park in November. Horses in the quarantined barn were permitted to train but at separate times from the general population. The horses were tested and had their temperatures monitored during a 14-day quarantine period. There being no further positive tests, the quarantine was lifted after 14 days.

A website maintained by the Equine Disease Communication Center provides updates on equine herpesvirus and other equine diseases. Alerts on outbreaks can be found here.