Fair Hill Horse Positive for EHV; Virus Detected in Early Stages

Maryland officials reported Wednesday that a horse which tested positive for equine herpesvirus type-1at Fair Hill Training Center in Cecil County, Md., last week, has recovered from its fever and has shown no signs of neurologic illness. Test results on samples taken on Monday from horses that share a barn with the infected horse should be available by the end of the week.

Two horses in the barn had initially spiked fevers--nasal swabs on one horse tested positive for EHV-1 (the index case). According to information posted on the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) web site, "The horse has never exhibited any neurologic signs and no other horses in the barn or at any other location on the facility have any signs of any form of EHV-1.

"After examining the horse and the entire situation and consulting with the attending veterinarian, MDA determined that this did not meet the definition of a neurologic equine herpesvirus outbreak and did not trigger regulatory action," the MDA statement continued. "However, MDA is in frequent contact with the center and its veterinarian and is monitoring the situation closely."

On Monday, training center officials made the decision to test all of the horses in the affected barn, and they requested that an MDA veterinarian be on hand to verify the sampling process and submittal. MDA did not request the additional testing. In the meantime, no horses are leaving the facility from the affected barn.

Movement of horses in and out of the training center has been restricted since Jan. 22, and those restrictions were made more stringent on Feb. 3. The training center contracted with a local security firm to man gates around the clock and posted signage related to the restrictions.

As of Saturday (Feb. 11), there were no new EHV-1 cases at the Kent County, Md., farm that has had two horses euthanatized after debilitating EHV-1 neurologic signs. The hold order on the farm will be lifted on Feb. 27 if there are no new cases.

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