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Press Releases

June 22, 2023
Horses Test Positive for Equine Herpesvirus-1 at Lexington Facility
Contact: Shelby Crouch

On June 22, the State Veterinarian’s Office of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) was informed two horses from the same barn tested positive for Equine Herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1), the virus that causes Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy. The infected horses were stabled at the Virginia Horse Center (VHC) during the Shenandoah Classic. Both horses were immediately moved off the grounds when they first exhibited symptoms. One horse is receiving medical care and is stable. The other horse was subsequently euthanized. Approximately 80 exposed horses that were stabled in the same barn at the VHC have been placed under quarantine. All exposed horses are being monitored twice daily for fever (temperature over 101.50 F) and other clinical signs. No other horses at the horse show are considered exposed and the horse show will continue. However, the unexposed horses are having temperatures and clinical signs monitored out of an abundance of caution.

The Virginia Horse Center is following their biosecurity plan and will remain open for business.

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. Horse owners with concerns should contact their veterinarian. EHV-1 is not transmissible to humans.

For more information, visit the VDACS EHV-1 website and for information on best practices for disease prevention in horses visit the Equine Disease Communications Center Biosecurity website. Horse owners also may contact the VDACS Office of Veterinary Services at 804.786.2483

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