Positive EHV-1 Horse Identified from Turfway Park in Kentucky

Editor’s note: Rusty Ford, Equine Programs Manager for the Kentucky State Veterinarian’s office, reported the following on Saturday, January 21, at 5:20 p.m. Eastern time.

The Kentucky Office of State Veterinarian has placed an order of quarantine on a barn on the backside of Turfway Park after a horse from that barn was tested by a PCR assay and determined to be positive to equine herpesvirus type 1 ‘wild strain.’ The horse, a 2014 Thoroughbred filly, had been stabled in the barn at Turfway from October 30, 2016, through January 19, 2017. The sample, a nasal swab, was collected as the filly was being moved to a private facility to prepare for breeding in 2017. The filly is currently in isolation offsite on a private farm.

Ford noted that in response to the report of a positive result, the Office of the State Veterinarian did issue a directive on Friday night, January 20, that horses in the affected barn are confined to the barn and an order of quarantine was issued on Saturday morning. Security is in place, with only essential personnel granted access to the barn and caution being taken on exit to ensure sanitation. Results of testing are expected to be available Monday evening, January 23. In the interim, horses are confined to the barn. After the risk is better defined, the State Veterinarian’s office will develop schedules to allow eligible horses in the barn to work on the track outside normal training hours after all other horses have returned to their barns.

Ford noted that he was on the grounds throughout the day on Saturday, January 21, meeting with trainers in the quarantined barn, track management, attending veterinarians and racing officials. Ford stated, “Because proactive measures were implemented at Turfway Park earlier in the meet, including restricted access and controlled movement of horses onto the backside and the elevated biosecurity implemented in all common areas, we are optimistic our efforts will pay a dividend and that we have minimized risk of disease transmission on the backside.”

Ford said that after reviewing movement records of horses in and out of Turfway, we also have preliminarily identified a potential point of exposure involving two barns at the Keeneland training center. Each of those barns also has been placed under quarantine and arrangements are being made to sample those horses. As at Turfway, in the interim horses in those barns are restricted to their barn areas and not permitted to train. As our epidemiology investigation continues, we will be better able to define what direct and indirect exposure may have occurred and adjust our strategies as needed.

Ford said as in the past, Kentucky horsemen, tracks and racing officials recognize and appreciate efforts made to control disease transmission and accept the short term inconvenience and associated cost for the long term benefit of racing in the Commonwealth.

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