OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS, Contact: Elaine Lidholm, 804.786.7686, www.vdacs.virginia.gov
For Immediate Release
Feb. 28, 2018
Virginia Horses Test Positive for Equine Herpesvirus-1
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) has confirmed a diagnosis of Equine Herpesvirus Myeloencephalopathy (EHM) in two horses in Virginia. On Tuesday, February 27, the State Veterinarian’s Office at VDACS confirmed that two horses exhibiting neurological signs tested positive for Equine Herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1), the virus that causes EHM. Both horses were euthanized.
There is no link between the two horses and the timing of the EHM finding is coincidental. One horse was housed at the Hazelwild Equestrian Center in Fredericksburg and the second was located on a private farm in Powhatan County. Both facilities have been placed under quarantine. All exposed horses are being monitored twice daily for fever (temperature over 101.50 F) and other clinical signs, and VDACS is working with the facility owners to determine if any exposed horses have left the premises. Owners of exposed horses will be notified and are advised to isolate and observe their horses closely for signs of the disease.
There is no cause for alarm concerning the general horse population in Virginia. EHV-1 is a virus that is present in the environment and found in most horses all over the world. Horses typically are exposed to the virus at a young age with no serious side effects. A large percent of horses carry the virus with no clinical signs for the remainder of their lives. Rarely, exposed horses develop the neurologic form of the disease. Horse owners with concerns should contact their veterinarian.
The Equine Disease Communications Center Biosecurity web pages equinediseasecc.org/biosecurity have more information on best practices for disease prevention in horses and VDACS has more information on EHV-1 at vdacs.virginia.gov/animals-equine-herpes-virus.shtml. Horse owners also may contact VDACS’ Office of Veterinary Services at 804.786.2483.
Elaine J. Lidholm
Director of Communications
Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
102 Governor Street
Richmond VA 23219