March 8, 2021
The Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC) and the AAEP wish to update you regarding the neurologic form of equine herpesvirus infection (EHM) in Florida, as well as provide resources about the disease for use in your practice.
Currently, there are two cases in Florida from a single private facility in Ocala which is quarantined with restricted movement and ongoing monitoring under the oversight of the state veterinarian’s office. There are no other known cases of EHM in Florida at this time but we are monitoring the situation closely. Due to concern that horses at the World Equestrian Center (WEC) may have been exposed, the WEC has recommended increased biosecurity measures to keep horses safe.
Although there is no evidence that the EHM outbreak in Europe is linked to the cases in Florida, because horses from Europe are commonly imported into the United States, horse owners should increase monitoring of any horses that have recently traveled to horse shows or were exposed to horses that have traveled.
Because of the possible exposure that can occur at horse shows and during transport, we recommend the following biosecurity precautions for owners:
- Monitor horses for clinical signs and take and record the temperature twice daily.
- Anything greater than 101.5 is considered a fever.
- Immediately isolate any horse(s) showing clinical signs.
- Implement movement restrictions until the situation is evaluated.
- Contact your veterinarian to evaluate your horse and to propose a comprehensive biosecurity protocol.
- Increase biosecurity measures that include extensive disinfection of surfaces and equipment that come in contact with affected horses.
a. Wash or sanitize your hands between interacting with horses.
b. Take time while filling water buckets and feed tubs, do not cross contaminate.
c. Minimize the use of shared equipment and tack.
- Make sure your horse is up to date on vaccinations.
- Establish communication with all parties involved.
EVH-1 FACTS AND RESOURCES
Equine Herpesvirus (EHV-1) is spread from horse to horse through contact with nasal discharge or spread as aerosol droplets. Horses can also contract the virus by coming into contact with contaminated surfaces such as stalls, water, feed, tack and transport vehicles. Information about equine herpesvirus neurologic disease is available on the EDCC website.
If you suspect an infectious disease of any kind, go to the What Horse Owners Should Do During the First 30 Minutes of a Suspected Infectious Disease Outbreak page on the EDCC website to help prevent disease spread. The EDCC will report EHV-1 updates on the alerts page and Facebook page.