Turfway Initiates Steps to Safeguard Against Spread of Equine Herpes

Barn 26, a 50-horse barn at Turfway Park, remains under quarantine after a 3-year-old filly who tested positive for the equine herpesvirus (EHV-1) was euthanized on Friday (Dec. 23). The Chuck Simon-trained filly, Coupe Aux Marrons, began exhibiting signs of the neurological disease last week and was shipped from Turfway to Hagyard Equine Medical Institute in Lexington, Ky., on Wednesday (Dec. 21).

According to Robert Stout, DVM, Kentucky state veterinarian with the Department of Agriculture, there is only one case (Coupe Aux Marrons) of equine herpes where clinical signs confirm the manifestation of the disease's neurological form. However, based on blood samples analyzed at the University of Kentucky Livestock Diagnostic Center in Lexington, other horses housed in Barn 26 have been exposed to the virus.

None of the other horses who have tested positive for the presence of the virus exhibit any clinical signs of the neurological manifestation of the virus.

"At the current time, other horses in Barn 26 who may have been exposed to this virus are not exhibiting clinical signs of EVH-1 infection," Stout said. "We have reports that each of those horses appears to be in satisfactory condition with no negative effects resulting from exposure."

All horses stabled in Barn 26 were required to be tested to determine if the virus was present in their bloodstream or nasal secretions.

In addition to precautionary steps implemented by Turfway last week, track officials announced the following precautions:

  • Effective Wednesday (Dec. 21), all horses shipping onto Turfway grounds will be required to show a current health certificate issued within 24 hours of arriving at Turfway.
  • Effective Wednesday, all horses shipping from Turfway grounds will be required to show a current health certificate issued within 24 hours of leaving Turfway.
  • Effective Jan. 11, 2006, all horses providing pony-to-post services will be required to demonstrate inoculation against equine herpes no sooner than Jan. 4 and no later than 90 days prior to the date of arrival.
  • Effective Jan. 11, all horses shipping onto Turfway grounds will be required to demonstrate inoculation against equine herpes no sooner than January 4 and no later than 90 days prior to the date of arrival.

"These steps, while perhaps inconvenient, will continue to provide confidence to our horsemen and other racing jurisdictions that we are taking whatever steps necessary to ensure the safety of these animals," Turfway President Robert Elliston said. "With the assistance of Dr. Stout's team, the KHRA, and Kentucky horsemen, we are trying to ensure a safe environment and a return to normalcy as soon as possible for those horsemen adversely affected in Barn 26."

EHV-1 can be spread through the air, and disinfectants have been used to sterilize such public areas as the shipping barn and starting gates. Continued testing of those horses located in Barn 26 will be conducted this Wednesday (Dec. 28) to confirm that the disease hasn't spread, and horses at the track might be able to return to segregated training as early as Saturday.

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