No New EHV-1 Positives at Laurel Park

The 2-year-old filly tested positive for EHV-1.

(Edited press release)

The Maryland Department of Agriculture reported Nov. 17 that no horses in Laurel Park’s Barn 1, where a filly who tested positive for neurologic equine herpesvirus was stabled, are showing signs of the virus.

The Maryland Department of Agriculture reported Nov. 14 that blood and nasal swab samples from a 2-year old filly from trainer King Leatherbury’s stable in Laurel Park’s barn 1 were confirmed positive for neurologic EHV-1 by the University of Kentucky. Because the filly’s condition had not improved, the owner made the decision to euthanize her Saturday evening. 

MDA Animal Health staff took nasal swabs and blood samples from the 18 remaining untested horses in Barn 1.  Results from the 26 horses stabled in Barn 1 to date are as follows:  1 positive filly/euthanized; 5 negative test results;  and 20 pending.  In addition, samples from 31 lead ponies submitted by the Maryland Jockey Club on Saturday are all negative.  

“We thank all parties involved in helping to prevent the spread of this virus and understand the difficulties it presents to owners, trainers, track workers across the board and the Jockey Club,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Guy Hohenhaus.  “While the test results to date are promising everyone needs to remain vigilant in their preventative measures.”

A "hold order" was placed on Barn 1 at the central Maryland track by the Maryland Department of Agriculture  on Nov. 12 restricting all movement into and out of the barn, pending further testing.  In addition, on Friday, Nov. 14, the Maryland Jockey Club prohibited until further notice any horses from shipping into Laurel Park except those from the Bowie Training Center on a Maryland Jockey Club shuttle.  This action is a pro-active and preventative measure taken with an abundance of caution by the Jockey Club.

Equine herpesvirus causes upper respiratory infection and can lead to severe neurological disease. There is currently no known method to reliably prevent the neurologic form of EHV-1 infection. 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 occurs primarily by direct nose to nose contact or contaminated hands, equipment, feed and water. It can also be spread up to 35 feet by airborn droplets. This virus is not associated with any human health risk.

Regular updates regarding this investigation will be available on MDA’s website