Ky State Veterinarian Statement on Louisiana Herpesvirus Outbreak

Editor’s note: The following was sent out by Rusty Ford, Equine Programs Manager, Kentucky State Veterinarian’s office. 

TO: KY Race Track Management Date: January 3, 2017 Ref: Fair Grounds EHV 

In reference to reports of equine herpesvirus type 1 (EHV-1) having been diagnosed as affecting horses at Fair Grounds Race Course, I offer the following information. Through conversations with a racing commission veterinarian, my understanding today is horses in two barns have been confirmed positive for EHV-1 and that additional horses on the grounds are currently considered suspect cases. 

It is also known that both the “wild” and “mutated” strains of EHV-1 have been identified as affecting horses on the grounds. Additionally, evidence seen over the weekend suggests virus has recently, and continues today, to circulate among the population of horses stabled at Fairgrounds Race Course in New Orleans. With this recognition, horses currently or recently stabled in that environment do pose an elevated risk to our Kentucky racing population. Published reports, confirmed by the LA Department of Agriculture, states that the entire backside is under an order of quarantine, with movement of equine onto or off the grounds restricted. 

With these restrictions in place, no horses will be departing Fair Grounds in route to Kentucky. Additionally, and until we have a more defined status of the continuing outbreak, we are directing that horses which have resided or been on the grounds of a Louisiana track or training center since December 10, 2016 should not be permitted entry onto a Kentucky track until they have been off the grounds for a minimum of 30 days. In addition, these horses must meet all health requirements that remain in place to qualify each individual horse’s entry onto a Kentucky track. 

In summary: 

1) An outbreak of EHV-1 continues to be reported at Fair Grounds Race Course in LA 

2) Horses in multiple barns have been confirmed as affected with the virus 

3) Both the ‘wild’ and ‘mutated’ strains of EHV-1 have been detected circulating at Fair Grounds 

4) The LA track is currently under an Order of Quarantine imposed by LA Department Agriculture 

5) There is concern that horses exposed at Fair Grounds had relocated to other tracks or training centers in LA. There is no evidence of active disease being in those other environments today. 

6) With the Quarantine in place, horses from Fair Grounds are prohibited entry onto a KY track 

7) With the evidence suggesting virus was circulating ~12/10/2016, and that horses had left the track to area training centers, The Kentucky Office of State Veterinarian is directing that no horse that has resided or been on a Louisiana race track or training center since December 10, 2016, shall be allowed entry onto a KY track at this time. Any horse that has been in these environments, must come with certification that they have been removed a minimal 30 days to qualify for entry onto a KY track in addition to meeting standard health requirements. 

The KY Office of State Veterinarian will have inspector(s) monitoring the daily movement of horses onto tracks currently conducting live racing. We will continue to monitor developments in Louisiana and will adjust our mitigating strategies as needed. 

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