Maryland horsemen are breathing a little easier after a preliminary test for equine herpesvirus (EHV-I) on a horse at Bowie Training Center came back negative.
The suspected EHV-1 case caused officials at the Maryland Jockey Club to place a "hold order" on Barn 16 at the Bowie Training Center as a precautionary measure. Maryland Jockey Club racing secretary Georganne Hale said the hold order remains in place until the situation has been rectified.
To follow up on the initial test, the sample will be sent to Rusty Ford, equine programs manager for the Kentucky State Veterinarian's office for confirmation. That result should be available Tuesday evening, Sept. 24 or Wednesday morning, Sept. 25.
The hold order affects the barn that houses horses trained by Annette Eubanks, Bobby Lee Plummer, and Patrick Magill.
Horses conditioned by those trainers are not allowed into or out of the barn until given clearance by the Maryland Department of Agriculture, according to the MJC. There will be 24-hour security outside the barn. Anyone leaving the barn needs to change their clothes and disinfect their feet.
Equine herpesvirus-1, which causes upper respiratory infection, can also cause neurological disease. According to the MJC advisory, it is recommended to maintain appropriate vaccination procedures in an attempt to reduce the incidence of the respiratory form of EHV-1 infection, which may help prevent the neurologic form. Transmission of the virus can occur via coughing or sneezing over a distance of up to 35 feet as well as by direct contact with infected horses, feed and equipment.