EHV-1 Quarantine Lifted at University of Tennessee

The quarantine at the University of Tennessee Veterinary Medical Center (UTVMC) prompted by the admission of a confirmed case of neurologic equine herpesvirus (EHV-1) has been lifted, according to a statement from the hospital released today (Sept. 30).

"The Equine Hospital at the UT Veterinary Medical Center ended its 14 day quarantine (seven day state-mandated quarantine followed by our seven day self-imposed quarantine) at 8:00 this morning," the statement read. "The hospital is now open and fully functional."

All the horses and camelids residing in the hospital during the quarantine have tested negative for EHV-1 and will be permitted to leave the hospital today, the statement said.

"Owners of horses that were in the hospital as outpatients when the index arrived and traveled to their respective stables prior to the definitive diagnosis have not reported any fevers or signs of neurologic disease in those patients," the statement continued. "To our knowledge, there have been no new cases of EHV-1 reported in the area."

The index case was admitted to the UTVMC on Sept. 15 and was euthanized within hours of admission due to the progression of clinical signs. An independent laboratory along with the UTVMC laboratory confirmed the mare was positive for neurologic EHV-1.

On Sept. 21 five additional horses residing on the index case's home premises tested positive for EHV-1. The animals were not admitted to the UTVMC, but rather isolated at their home facility, The Dixie Stampede in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.

Today's statement from the UTVMC indicated that the index premises remains under quarantine and that the affected horses remain in stable condition. No new cases have been confirmed at the index premises since Sept. 21.

Although it's not transmissible to humans, EHV-1 is highly contagious among horses and camelids, and it is generally passed from horse to horse via aerosol transmission (when affected animals sneeze/cough) and contact with nasal secretions. The disease can cause a variety of ailments in equines, including rhinopneumonitis (a respiratory disease usually found in young horses), abortion in broodmares, and myeloencephalopathy (EHM, the neurologic form).

Myeloencephalopathy is characterized by fever, ataxia (incoordination), weakness or paralysis of the hind limbs, and incontinence. Should a horse with potential EHV-1 exposure display any of the aforementioned clinical signs, a veterinarian should be called to obtain samples and test for the disease.

About the Author

Erica Larson, News Editor

Erica Larson, news editor, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.

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