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From the Office of the State Veterinarian: Ongoing EHV-1 Outbreak

03/04/2021 9:46 AM | Anonymous

March 3, 2021--Frankfort, KY-

Kentucky Equine Industry – Information for Sharing

Earlier this afternoon I had the opportunity to speak directly with Florida Animal Health Officials overseeing the investigation of EHV1 in the Ocala area.  During the conversation I learned that on March 1st  a warmblood mare presented with neurologic abnormalities.  The 8yr old mare subsequently tested positive for EHV1 and confirmed to be affected with EHV-1 neurotropic strain.

The affected horse was removed from the premises and placed in isolation.  The premises the mare had been stabled at was placed under quarantine with strict monitoring of the exposed population and heightened biosecurity measures implemented.  In addition to the affected premises, my understanding tonight is that heightened biosecurity practices and animal monitoring has been put in place and being practiced at show facilities in Ocala as well as the Wellington facilities.  I have also had conversations with practitioners currently working in those environments and they too conveyed to me the biosecurity and health monitoring practices that are in place.

With the protocols currently implemented and monitoring by Florida’s Animal Health officials , we (Dr. Katie Flynn and I) feel there is no immediate elevated threat to our populations here in KY and that at this time there is no need nor benefit to impose additional restrictions on movement from the Ocala area.  We do though remind our horsemen the importance of knowing the environment and health status of new arrivals, and take necessary precautions before introducing new horses to resident horses.  

In addition to the Florida event, we have also been gathering and assessing information relative to an escalating EHV1 disease event affecting sport horses in Europe.  The outbreak is reported to have originated in Valencia Spain with subsequent events in France, Belgium and Germany, collectively impacting equestrian events throughout Europe.  Published reports suggest National veterinary authorities in each country are working with the FEI Veterinary Departments in a coordinated effort to investigate, manage and bring under control the disease events with the National Federations providing needed support.  As of tonight there has not been any international movement restrictions put in place by USDA’s Veterinary Services Department.

We will continue to monitor progression of the investigations and will keep you apprised of developments and any strategies that may be needed to mitigate risk to our horses and industry here in Kentucky.

E.S. Rusty Ford
Equine Operations Consultant
Office State Veterinarian 
502/782-5901 office

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