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USDA statement on Equine Herpes Virus

Published on 24 May 2011

Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1) infection in horses can cause respiratory disease, abortion in mares, neonatal foal death, and/or neurologic disease. The neurologic form of EHV-1 is called Equine Herpes Virus Myeloencephalopathy (EHM). The virus can spread through the air, contaminated equipment, clothing and hands. EHV-1 is endemic to the United States and is usually handled by the States involved; USDA becomes involved in cases involving multiple States or movement of horses across State lines.

2011 Incident Information

Several horses recently competing in the National Cutting Horse Association Western National Championship in Ogden, Utah, held April 29-May 8, have been diagnosed with EHV-1. Reports of affected horses have been received from multiple States and Western Canada, with several fatalities.

At this time, APHIS understands the virus to be present in horses that attended the cutting horse event and horses that came into contact with those that attended the event. APHIS will continue to monitor the situation and work with the States to make decisions as needed to control the spread of the virus.

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—From USDA news release