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Press Releases

January 28, 2021
Virginia Horse Test Positive for Equine Herpesvirus-1
Contact: Michael Wallace

On January 27, the State Veterinarian’s Office of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) became aware of a single horse testing positive for Equine Herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1), the virus that causes Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy. The infected horse was at a boarding stable in Hanover County. The horse first demonstrated neurologic signs on January 25. The equine’s condition worsened resulting in euthanasia on January 26. The boarding stable has been placed under quarantine. All exposed horses on the farm are being monitored twice daily for fever, a temperature over 101.50 F, and other clinical signs. A single horse was exposed after visiting the farm on January 24. This horse’s home stable, a small privately-owned farm in Hanover County, is under quarantine. No additional Virginia horses were exposed.

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 percentage of horses carry the virus with no clinical signs for the remainder of their lives. Rarely do exposed horses develop the neurologic form of the disease. Horse owners with concerns should contact their veterinarian.

Please visit the Equine Disease Communications Center Biosecurity website at equinediseasecc.org/biosecurity for more information on best practices for disease prevention in horses. VDACS has more information on EHV-1 at vdacs.virginia.gov/animals-equine-herpes-virus.shtml. Horse owners may also contact VDACS’ Office of Veterinary Services at 804.786.2483.

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