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Press Releases

February 1, 2018
Virginia Horse Tests Positive for Equine Herpesvirus-1
Contact: Elaine Lidholm, 804.786.7686

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) has confirmed a diagnosis of Equine Herpesvirus Myeloencephalopathy (EHM) in a horse in central Virginia. On Wednesday January 31, the State Veterinarian’s Office at VDACS confirmed that a horse exhibiting neurological signs and a fever tested positive for Equine Herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1), the causative virus for EHM.

The horse is housed in a horse-boarding stable in Chesterfield County, which has been placed under quarantine. All exposed horses are being monitored twice daily for fever (temperature over 101.50 F) and other clinical signs, and VDACS will be working with the stable’s owner to determine if any exposed horses have left the premises.

There is no cause for alarm concerning the general horse population in Virginia. EHV-1 is a virus that is present in the environment and found in most horses all over the world. Horses typically are exposed to the virus at a young age with no serious side effects. A large percent of horses carry the virus with no clinical signs for the remainder of their lives. Rarely, exposed horses develop the neurologic form of the disease.

The Equine Disease Communications Center Biosecurity has more information on best practices for disease prevention in horses and VDACS has more information on EHV-1 here. Horse owners may also contact VDACS’ Office of Veterinary Services at 804.786.2483.

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