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News of EHV-1 Outbreaks


The Mid-South Horse Review periodically receives news alerts from the United States Animal Health Association. The USAHA Daily News Alert Summaries for March 16, 2021 contained five news summaries concerning equine herpesvirus outbreaks. They included seven EHV-1 cases at a Pennsylvania boarding barn; a Utah horse euthanized due to neurologic equine herpesvirus; respiratory equine herpesvirus cases confirmed in Tennessee; an update on EHV-1 cases in Kentucky; and the outbreak of equine herpesvirus cases in Florida. Following is an excerpt from these news alerts with reference to the full article.

“The Tennessee State Veterinarian confirmed positive cases of respiratory equine herpesvirus in Knox and Shelby Counties, with additional suspect and exposed horses.

“In Knox County, a 14-day quarantine has been placed at the University of Tennessee Veterinary Teaching Hospital for the main equine barn facility and for horses in the isolation unit due to a confirmed case of respiratory equine herpesvirus. Two horses are also suspected of having the virus and nine others are exposed.The confirmed horse is alive and affected.

“The Tennessee State Veterinarian also confirmed a positive respiratory equine herpesvirus case at a boarding facility in Shelby County. Another horse is suspected as having the virus and 100 other horses were exposed. The confirmed horse was vaccinated and is affected with a fever and alive.

“The diagnosis was confirmed as EHV-4 and currently the horse is normal. A second horse on the premises also was determined to have a fever and is also vaccinated. The facility veterinarian is managing the situation at the facility.”


We checked with a state official about the Shelby County horses and were told that they are not allowed to give locations, only counties. However, the state official said that she did visit the farm on Friday (March 12) and the horse is in a quarantine barn away from others.  The farm is also quarantined for movement in or out until the case is resolved. This horse was vaccinated, as well as the others on the farm, so it is expected to do quite well.  It was much better at the latest visit.

The state official emphasized the importance of bio-security in protecting the health of horses. Key words are bio-security and vaccinate. While there is no vaccine to prevent a horse from getting EHV or EHM, the vaccine seems to make the virus less severe. 

Bio-security is one of the best ways to keep your horse (or any other livestock) as healthy as possible. There should be no sharing buckets, tack, etc. Watch for sick horses at shows, trail rides, or any equestrian event. If you come in contact with a horse with EHV or EHM and it sneezes or blows its nose on your clothing, and if you visit another horse or your horse, you can spread the disease on your shirt. This disease is very contagious from horse to horse! If you come in contact with sick horses, head to the washing machine with everything you have on, wash it, and change clothes before you get near your own livestock.

In addition to these listed cases in the USAHA news summaries, we have also learned of outbreaks in other areas of the country. Summaries follow.

Laurel Locks Down Over EHV-1

By T. D. Thornton, Thoroughbred Daily News

Four barns at Laurel Park, Maryland were placed under quarantine, and shipping out was barred for horses stabled at Maryland’s two Thoroughbred tracks March 9 after a symptomatic horse at Laurel tested positive for equine herpesvirus type 1 (EHV-1) and was removed to a veterinary facility.

On a national scale, active cases of the highly contagious respiratory disease are being monitored in several states right now, including in Florida at the World Equestrian Center in Ocala.

On March 7, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture state veterinarian's office issued written guidance related to this recent spate of EHV-1. “In the past seven days we have learned of multiple occurrences of EHV-1 impacting equine events throughout the world,” E.S. “Rusty” Ford, the equine operations consultant for the Kentucky state's veterinarian, said in that statement.

That statement urged stabling facilities in Kentucky to review biosecurity protocols and elevate their responses to minimize direct contact between horses via shared water, feed supplies and equipment.

Full article:

More Kentucky Outbreaks

March 11, 2021 – The Kentucky state veterinarian's office reported that restrictions have been put in place for the training facility at Blackwood Stables near Versailles, Ky. in Woodford County, after equine herpes myeloencephalopathy was confirmed in a 3-year-old filly based there.

Full article:

E.S. “Rusty” Ford, equine operations consultant for the Kentucky Office of the State Veterinarian, released an update on an EHV-1 outbreak in Woodford County, Ky., on Monday, March 15, 2021. The outbreak was first announced March 11 after one horse at a training center was hospitalized with neurologic symptoms. On March 12, five more horse horses tested positive.  

The horse was reported last night (March 10, 2021) as showing signs of improvement.

Full article:

Full article:
Disease Resources

To keep up-to-date on disease outbreaks, you can visit the Equine Disease Communication Center on facebook:

Also find a comprehensive article by Stacey Reap on the types, symptoms, and effects of equine herpesvirus at The Chronicle of the Horse: Reap concludes her article noting the importance of biosecurity:

“…there is no argument against the value of biosecurity in preventing the spread of the disease. Whether keeping a single case from becoming an outbreak or containing an outbreak that’s already underway, prompt isolation of definitively infected horses—as well as those with undiagnosed fevers, respiratory or neurological signs—and careful management to prevent cross-contamination within a population via equipment and handlers are the most powerful weapons we have against EHV-1.”

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