Developing Story: Three Barns At Laurel Under Quarantine Due To Equine Herpesvirus

The Maryland Jockey Club alerted horsemen on Tuesday that three barns at Laurel Park — Barns 4, 10, and 11 — have been placed under quarantine due to equine herpesvirus.

Horsemen are asked to take horses’ temperatures twice daily and monitor them for signs of the disease. Equine herpesvirus is a highly transmissible respiratory illness which can spread through nasal discharge or aerosol droplets. It can also be spread passively on surfaces such as human hands, shared grooming tools, and tack. There are several strains of equine herpesvirus, with the most common being EHV-1 and EHV-4. EHV-1 presents as a mild respiratory illness with fever, lethargy, and nasal discharge, but some strains of the virus can cause severe neurological disease and death. EHV-4 can also present with similar respiratory symptoms but can also cause abortion in pregnant mares as well as severe neurologic disease.

During equine herpesvirus outbreaks, horsemen and staff are typically encouraged to minimize traffic of people and horses between barns and to practice good biosecurity protocols to avoid transmission of the disease.

Laurel officials are awaiting instructions from state animal health officials on movement of horses and Tuesday morning’s announcement stated that all horses at Laurel are required to stay on the grounds until further guidance is provided. Horses shipping into Laurel will also be required to stay there until more guidance is issued. Horses at Pimlico are not subject to those restrictions at this time.

A Zoom meeting has been scheduled by the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association for 2:30 p.m. Tuesday to allow the Maryland Office of the State Veterinarian to field questions from horsemen about the outbreak.

It remains unclear how many horses have tested positive, whether there are positive cases in all three quarantined barns, or whether the neurological strain of equine herpesvirus is involved. This story will be updated as those details are confirmed.

EHV-1 outbreaks have been in the headlines in the equestrian world in recent weeks. A large outbreak in Europe has frozen international competitions there, and an outbreak connected to the World Equestrian Center in Ocala, Fla., saw its third suspected case over the weekend after two horses tested positive. All three horses exhibited high fevers, one nine days after leaving the Center.

The post Developing Story: Three Barns At Laurel Under Quarantine Due To Equine Herpesvirus appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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