Tests Indicate Only One EHV-1 Case at Churchill Downs

Tests Indicate Only One EHV-1 Case at Churchill Downs
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
Churchill Downs believes the outbreak of EHV has been limited to one case.

Thirty-five horses stabled in a barn at Churchill Downs where one other horse tested positive for Equine Herpesvirus have tested negative for the disease, leading track officials to believe the case is isolated.

According to an Oct. 27 release from Churchill, the horses in Barn 47 underwent two tests -- a nasal swab test and a blood test –- and “negative” results were returned on all of those horses.  The barn remained under quarantine and no horses are allowed in or out of the structure while the restrictions are in place.

Stabled in the barn are 19 horses trained by David Carroll and 16 from the stable of Al Stall, Jr.

The quarantine went into effect Oct. 26 – two days before the opening of the 27-day fall meet -- after a 3-year-old trained by Carroll tested positive for EHV-1. The colt had displayed symptoms consistent with EHV-1 on Oct. 25 and was immediately removed from the track grounds and sent to an equine medical facility. Symptoms of EHV-1 most commonly include fever and an upper respiratory infection. The symptoms can include lethargy, loss of appetite, nasal discharge, and a cough. In severe cases, horses can suffer a loss of coordination and an inability to stand. The illness can be fatal.

In addition to the quarantine, Churchill Downs has imposed “biosecurity measures” that apply horses shipping in and out of the track.

According to the state veterinarian’s office, these procedures include increased scrutiny of horses that arrive and depart from the barn area, with certificates of veterinary inspection required for all horses that enter and leave the stable area; a requirement that ship-in horses be allowed only into the track’s receiving barn or stakes barn; nightly disinfectant procedures in the receiving barn and stakes barn; daily disinfectant procedures on the starting gate; precautionary measures, including the wearing of latex gloves by the track’s horse identifier and starting gate crew; and daily disinfectant procedures in the paddock at the conclusion of each day’s racing.

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