Updated: Four Barns At Laurel Under Quarantine Due To Equine Herpesvirus

Four barns at Laurel Park — Barns 1, 4, 10, and 11 — have been placed under quarantine after one horse developed neurological symptoms over the weekend and subsequently tested positive for equine herpesvirus.

According to a video conference call held Tuesday afternoon, one horse developed neurologic symptoms over the weekend and was quickly removed to the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center in Leesburg, Va., where the horse is responding well to treatment. Test results later indicated the horse was positive for the “wild type” strain of EHV-1.

There are two closely related strains of EHV-1 that may be indicated in testing, and they’re commonly called the “wild type” and the “neuropathogenic type.” Both can cause neurological symptoms and are handled basically the same way by animal health officials.

Read more about EHV-1 in this Paulick Report explainer from 2016.

Contact tracing on the horse later revealed it had potential exposures in the now-quarantined barns. Horses from those barns were not permitted to train Tuesday, but track management is working on a plan to allow them to train Wednesday morning. Those horses will not be permitted to gate school, and Maryland’s equine welfare and medical director Dr. Libby Daniel indicated they would likely not be permitted to race.

The initial quarantine is expected to last 14 days, but a new positive will restart the quarantine length for the barn in which the new case is found. The 14-day period started March 8.

Dr. Michael Odian, Maryland state veterinarian, and Steve Koch, senior vice president of racing operations at The Stronach Group, emphasized that diligence by all personnel will be key to minimizing disease spread and getting the quarantine orders lifted as scheduled.

“The trick is we have to be super diligent throughout that 14 days, make sure there is no cross contamination or exposures that cause further barns to be quarantined,” said Koch. “All horses need to be asymptomatic during that period.”

Horses can continue to enter Laurel during this time, but will not be permitted to leave. The same rules will apply at Pimlico, except that horses who leave Pimlico to run at Laurel may return to Pimlico. The two facilities are being treated as one property for the purposes of the outbreak.

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.

Horses that are symptomatic (those that have a fever of 102 degrees or higher or those showing neurological signs) should be tested as soon as possible. Crews have cleaned out Barn 29 on the Laurel backstretch and horsemen are encouraged to remove horses from their shedrows at the first sign of potential illness and take them to Barn 29 to reduce the amount of time the virus could be passed to horses in neighboring stalls. Horses should be tested for the virus only if they show symptoms, and will be tested twice — once when they become symptomatic, and once 72 hours later. The goal of the second test is to catch horses who may show symptoms before actually shedding enough of the virus to be picked up on the first test.

Staff working in quarantine barns should not go from quarantined areas to non-quarantined areas. They should save their work in quarantine barns for the end of the day, and leave the facility after working in those barns. Staff are encouraged to keep a change of shoes to be used only in quarantined barns, or to use pull-on rubber galoshes over existing boots. Ideally, staff should also wear coveralls over their clothes when working in a quarantined area. All equipment should be wiped down with disinfectant at the end of each work day to prevent disease transmission.

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. Odian confirmed the strain of the virus at Laurel is not the same as the strain in the European outbreak, and said he did not believe it was the same strain connected with recent positives in Florida or one in Pennsylvania.

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

DYFD Winter - 300x90

Comments are closed.