EHV-1 Outbreak: Second New Jersey Farm Quarantined

The New Jersey Department of Agriculture (NJDA) has quarantined a second Colts Neck horse farm as part of its investigation into an outbreak of the neurologic form of equine herpesvirus (EHV-1), that has led to the death of one horse and sickened five others.

The disease was discovered by a private veterinarian treating a sick horse at Overbrook Farm in Colts Neck, N.J. The veterinarian euthanized the filly on April 13 after she failed to respond to treatment. The five other affected horses are responding to treatment and recovering from their illnesses.

The NJDA's tracing activities at the farm to determine the extent of the outbreak led to today's quarantine of Tourelay Farm, also in Colts Neck. No confirmed cases of EHV-1 have been reported at Tourelay Farm at this time.

The index farm, Overbrook Farm, was quarantined late last week. Under this quarantine farm personnel must utilize biosecurity measures, such as disinfectant foot baths, coveralls, disposable gloves, hand washing and disinfectant hand gels, and non-sharing of tack between horses. The quarantine is expected to last 21 days, unless more horses become ill. All quarantines are based on risk assessment.

The NJDA has been in contact with Colts Neck Township officials to keep them informed of the efforts to contain the virus and protect animals.

EHV-1 spreads quickly from horse to horse, has a high morbidity, and can cause a wide range of symptoms, from a complete lack of clinical signs to respiratory problems, especially in young horses, and spontaneous abortions in pregnant mares. The neurologic form of EHV-1 can cause an acute paralytic syndrome, which results in a high mortality. The incubation period of EHV-1 is typically two to 10 days. The virus spreads readily through direct contact with infected materials.

The virus does not affect humans and other domestic animals with the exception of llamas and alpacas.

Concerned owners should consult their veterinarian prior to taking any action as the clinical signs of infection with the neurologic form of EHV-1 are common to many other diseases.

The neurologic form of EHV is a reportable disease in New Jersey. If an owner has a horse that is exhibiting neurologic signs or suspects EHV-1, they are directed to call their veterinarian immediately.

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