Editor's note: Rusty Ford, Equine Programs Manager for the Kentucky State Veterinarian's office, provided the following update on Jan. 13, 2017, on the EHV-1 problems in Kentucky.
For clarification – I am again restating that we are currently working two separate incidences here in Kentucky where EHV-1 has been diagnosed. Each of the two involved premises are in Oldham County, Kentucky, and for the purpose of this reporting are identified Oldham Premise 1 and Oldham Premise 2. When reviewing the information, it is important to distinguish the two separate investigations and premises, as they are not related, and in fact two different strains of EHV-1 have been determined.
I initially reported this case to EDCC on 1/7/17 with details described. The causative agent in this investigation was determined to be EHV1 mutated strain (ORF30 gene).
As of today, 1/13/2017, there have been no additional cases found since the last cases diagnosed on 1/6.
Daily monitoring continues and the reports show no significant findings. There have been four horses on Premises 1 identified as positive, and in all cases the mutated strain of virus was identified.
Traces from Premises 1 were conducted and did result in two additional horses being identified as positive. Each of these horses is on a private facility. Both of the positive horses and their cohorts remain isolated and monitoring continues.
I initially reported to EDCC on 1/11/17 with details described in the notification. Included in the report was information that samples (both nasal swabs and whole blood) were collected from each horse in the affected barn on Premises 2 and submitted for EHV testing. Results of that testing did identify five additional horses to be positive by PCR on the nasal swab. As was the first case in this investigation, the strain of EHV-1 identified is the ‘wild strain’, not the mutated strain.
Testing of the each blood sample was reported NEG by PCR. These results provide evidence that virus has (and was continuing on 1/11) to be circulating in the barn that had been placed under quarantine. The five positive horses were removed from the barn and placed in a separate isolation early this morning (1/13/17).
Monitoring of horses in the other barns continues, and there has been no evidence discovered suggesting the virus has spread to other barns or areas on the premises. Health monitoring of the population continues and individual reports assessed daily.
Kentucky’s Racing Safeguard is ENHANCED BIOSECURITY
Currently live racing is being conducted at Turfway Park in Florence, Kentucky. Disease mitigating strategies have been implemented at the track to help maintain a safe and healthy environment. The strategies include control and oversight of horse movement onto and off of the track, restricting racing ship-ins to the receiving barn; elevating our daily biosecurity practices to include enhanced race day cleaning/disinfecting of common areas and equipment to include starting gates, receiving barn, test barn, etc.
While somewhat disruptive to ‘business as usual’, these added safeguards are our best opportunity to maintain a healthy environment for horses to come and race. We appreciate the sacrifice made by horsemen, track management, veterinarians, security and the backside ground crew.
Updates will be provided as needed.