The Kentucky State Veterinarian's office has confirmed a diagnosis of equine herpesvirus type 1 to be affecting horses housed in Barn 3 at The Thoroughbred Center in Lexington. The index case was reported on Tuesday evening (February 13) after a horse that had presented with fever of unknown origin was sampled and results of PCR testing identified the horse to be positive for EHV1 ‘wild type’ on both nasal wash and whole blood.
The barn was immediately secured with no horses being allowed to move into or out of the barn. In addition to securing the barn with 24 hour guard assignment, a sanitizing area outside the barn’s entrance has been established and all individuals entering and leaving the barn must properly clean and disinfect and dispose of personal protective clothing that is provided on entry into the barn.
The affected barn’s population is currently comprised of 18 horses, including the index case. Two horses that moved out of the barn prior to the discovery are currently in isolation on a private farm. We have emptied and secured a barn at The Thoroughbred Center and will be dedicating this barn to serve as the quarantine barn used to isolate the positive horses.
Samples collected from the exposed horses earlier today have been partially reported, and has identified six additional positive cases. Five horses were positive on nasal swab only and one was positive on both blood and nasal swab. In addition to the horses exposed in the barn, the outrider horses have been sampled and they, too, were reported negative.
Kentucky State Veterinarian Dr. Robert Stout was on the grounds the morning of February 14, and the author was on the grounds that evening. After assessing the environment, we continue to be of the shared opinion that the procedures and protocols put in place are being properly implemented and provide us opportunity to contain the virus.
Updates will be provided as new information is learned.
Turfway Park Update
There have been no fevers nor any other evidence of illness reported in the quarantine barn at Turfway Park, and going through the barn the evening of February 14, the author observed the population as being bright, alert, eating and with no evidence of illness. The author plans to be back on the backside and in the barn the evening of February 15.
The State Veterinarian's office plan is to collect samples (nasal swabs and whole blood) from each of the horses in the quarantine barn next week that could potentially qualify the quarantine and other restrictions to be released.
Will keep you updated as new information becomes available.
The author is E.S. Rusty Ford, Equine Operations Consultant for the Kentucky Office of the State Veterinarian.