Quarantine Lifted at Beulah Park

On Feb 8, Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) officials lifted a quarantine at Beulah Park, declaring it safe for horses to move in and out of the facility, following an equine herpesvirus (EHV-1) outbreak that occurred between Dec. 22, 2010, and Jan. 11.

The action signifies 30 days have elapsed since the last clinical signs of the disease were detected at the Columbus-area racetrack.

On Dec. 22 the Department of Agriculture Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory performed a necropsy on a Thoroughbred horse that exhibited signs of neurological illness before it died at Beulah Park. A quarantine was immediately ordered Dec. 23 after laboratory test results from the necropsy substantiated the presence of the organism responsible for EHV-1.

During the course of the outbreak, the department confirmed the organism in two additional Thoroughbred horses exhibiting the same symptoms that also died at the track.

The ODA in a release said "quick action and bio-security measures" kept the virus contained. It was the first outbreak in Ohio since 2003, when scientists from the department worked quickly to isolate and characterize the EHV-1 strain that caused an outbreak in Hancock County.

"The professional work of staff at Beulah Park was critical in limiting exposure to EHV-1," state veterinarian Tony Forshey said in a statement. "Thanks to their cooperation and thorough work in following essential bio-security measures, we were able to quickly resolve this quarantine situation."

EHV is a highly contagious virus that can cause a variety of ailments in horses including rhinopneumonitis (a respiratory disease mostly of young horses), abortion in broodmares, and myeloencephalopathy (the neurologic form, which has been confirmed at Beulah Park and can lead to death).

Originally posted on BloodHorse.com.

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The Blood-Horse is the leading weekly publication devoted to international Thoroughbred racing and breeding. Since 1916, the staff of The Blood-Horse has served the Thoroughbred community with the highest standards of journalistic excellence to provide comprehensive and timely editorial coverage and analysis.

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