There has been an outbreak of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV) that originated in Valencia, Spain in February 2021 and has led to the cancellation of FEI events in 10 countries on the European mainland through the end of March.
Additionally, cases of EHV-1 (neurological) have been reported in Florida, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and California, although it is unclear if these cases are connected to the outbreak in Europe. The first reported case of EHV-1 (neurological) in Ocala, Florida, although similar in nature, is unrelated to the neurological strain of EHV-1 impacting Spain and other European countries.
USEF is working closely with competition organizers and veterinarians to ensure they are taking steps to proactively manage and contain the virus in the U.S. The USEA is monitoring the EHV-I outbreak along with our partners, including USEF and the Equine Disease Communication Center.
Below are some best practices you can implement immediately:
|1.||Review and ensure you are prepared for quick implementation of an isolation plan at a competition grounds and/or at your home farm or facility|
|2.||Check your horse's temperature twice daily and maintain a temperature log|
|3.||Isolate horses at first signs of symptoms or illness and contact your vet immediately|
|4.||Any horses with a fever about 101.5-102.5°F should isolate in separate facilitates on the competition grounds or at separate veterinary facility off-site|
|5.||Keep separate feed buckets, brushes, rags, and tack/equipment for each horse|
|6.||Ask your veterinarian about appropriate cleaning solutions|
|7.||Eliminate communal or shared water troughs and buckets|
|8.||Practice hand washing in between handling horses|
|9.||Maintain social distancing for horses; limit nose-to-nose contact with other horses at the ring|
|10.||Ensure your horse is vaccinated for EHV (Rhinopneumonitis vaccine) in line with GR845|
Please note that the vaccine does not protect against the neurological form of EHV-1, which is also referred to as Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy (EHM), but does reduce the clinical signs and shedding of the virus. Early identification and reporting of ill horses is vital in order to trace possible points of exposure and to aid in the prevention of further spread of the disease. The first 30 minutes following identification of a potentially infectious horse frequently determines the extent and scope of transmission and potential outbreak.
You should contact your veterinarian immediately for testing if a horse begins to display any symptoms of EHV-1. Competition managers should also be notified if the horse is at a competition. Cooperation with Florida and other state authorities is critical. The incubation period for EHV-1 is approximately 5-10 days for exposed horses and quarantine is 14-21 days in most states.