Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Detects Horse Virus and Takes Action to Avoid Spread
~Equine Herpes Virus 1 Detected at Horse Show in Ocala; Department Quarantines Affected Areas ~
February 27, 2013
Tallahassee, FL – The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced seven positive cases of Equine Herpes Virus 1 (EHV-1) confirmed in horses in Florida. Six of the confirmed cases are linked to the Horse Shows in the Sun (HITS) event in Ocala. The department issued a quarantine order to the entire venue hosting the HITS event and other areas where exposed horses have traveled.
The first positive case of the virus was referred to the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine after showing clinical neurological signs on February 20. The horse is in stable condition and continues to be treated at the University of Florida.
Six additional horses have tested positive in the last 24 hours. Four are located at Miles Away Farm in Loxahatchee and were linked to the HITS event. One horse is located at Redfield Farm in Ocala and was also linked to the HITS event. One horse located at Tequestrian Farm in Wellington is not believed to be associated with the HITS event. None of the six most recent cases have shown neurological signs at this time.
With evidence of widespread exposure, the HITS show grounds in Ocala has been placed under quarantine. The department is currently implementing standard protocols for surveillance and quarantine release measures. Horses under quarantine will be monitored for signs of the virus, including fever and nasal discharge. The department is working with management, trainers and veterinarians on the site to help prevent the further spread of disease.
Other areas where horses exposed to the virus at HITS are currently located are also under quarantine. Quarantined farms and venues include:
- Black Forest Farm, St. Augustine
- Brookmore Farm, Oviedo
- FEI Tent at Wellington Show Grounds, Wellington
- Flutterby Farm, Ocala
- Foxwood Farms, Pinellas Park
- Kings Ridge Farm, Reddick
- Littlewood Farm, Wellington
- Miles Away Farm, Loxahatchee
- Montera Farm, Ocala
- Redfield Farm, Ocala
- Tequestrian Farm, Wellington
- Up Country Farm/Synergy Farm, Ocala
EHV-1 is a contagious virus that affects horses and can result in neurological disease, respiratory disease, abortion and neonatal death. The virus is spread by direct horse-to-horse contact via the respiratory tract through nasal secretions or contact with physical objects contaminated with the virus. The virus does not affect humans.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services recommends the equine community practice prudent bio-security on their farms to avoid the spread of this or any other disease. Suspected cases of EHV-1 should be reported to the department by calling (850) 410-0900 Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., or (800) 342-5869 after hours and on weekends.
Information about the outbreak is available at www.FreshFromFlorida.com and will be updated daily.
For more information about the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit www.FreshFromFlorida.com.