Herpesvirus Still Circulating at Turfway Park

Results received Wednesday, Jan. 4, showed that three additional horses were positive for equine herpesvirus and two were "suspect" for the virus at barns quarantined at Turfway Park in northern Kentucky, according to Rusty Ford of the Kentucky state veterinarian's office. One positive horse is showing signs of viral infection, Ford's office said.

Ford said PCR assays (to look for the DNA of herpesvirus) of nasal swabs conducted at the University of Kentucky's Livestock Disease Diagnostic Center indicated herpesvirus was circulating in the outrider's barn, with two of the six horses positive and one horse suspect for herpesvirus. One of those positive horses is showing evidence of viral infection, and the other five have no clinical signs of illness.

In addition, results from 28 horses tested in the pony barn confirmed herpesvirus present in one horse, with another being suspect. There has been no clinical evidence of disease reported in either animal in this barn. A more thorough health review was scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 5.

In each of the positive PCR horses (outrider's and pony barns), the result was reported from nasal swabs, with EDTA buffy coat (from white blood cells) being negative.

Barn 26 (where the outbreak started), the outrider's barn, and the pony barn all remain quarantined, with animals housed in those barns having no contact with the general population, noted Ford.

Horses stabled in Barn 26 were examined Jan. 3 with no clinical illness reported. Following the examination, diagnostic samples were collected (blood and nasal swabs), with PCR testing to be completed at the Diagnostic Center.

While arrangements have yet to be completed, stabling off the grounds of Turfway Park is being sought for horses in the outrider's barn and pony barn.

Officials of the state veterinarian's office planned to examine some at Turfway Park Thursday, concentrating on those housed in the pony barn. In addition to assessing the current health status, they will begin tracing back and identifying horses with which the two positive pony horses have contacted during the previous days.

Meanwhile, Beulah Park in Grove City, Ohio has implemented new procedure for horses shipping in from Kentucky due to the outbreak. All horses shipping to Beulah Park from Kentucky will need a current coggins (six months) and a health certificate within 48 hours issued at the point of origin to enter the Beulah Park stable areas. Effective Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2006, all horses shipping to Beulah Park from Kentucky must have an Equine Herpes Inoculation dated seven days prior to shipping and no older than 90 days. The health certificate must show the date of vaccination and vaccine used.