Final Florida Piroplasmosis Quarantine Lifted

The last premises determined to have had horses infected with equine piroplasmosis (EP) was released from state quarantine Feb. 12, according to a statement released by the state's Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DOACS).

The final premises was released after meeting the requirements that all positive horses be removed from the premises, and that all other horses on the premises test negative at least 60 days after the removal of positive horses. In addition, the premises must have undergone intensive tick surveillance without finding exotic ticks or domestic ticks testing positive for EP.

During the investigation, officials quarantined 25 premises and tested more than 200 horses for the disease. In all, 20 horses on seven premises were found to be infected with the organism that causes EP.

Evidence uncovered during the investigation indicated that transmission of the EP organism occurred due to management practices and not by natural transmission, which occurs via ticks. Extensive tick surveillance was conducted, however, and 63 ticks (Dermacentor variabilis), shown to be experimental vectors for the organism, were tested and found to be negative for EP.

The only restrictions on horses are the additional requirements imposed by Canada for horses being imported from Florida. With the release of the last positive premises, the Florida State Veterinarian's office is working with the USDA to ask Canadian officials to remove the increased requirements on Florida horses.

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