Friday, January 22, 2016

Possible fatal virus found in horses at Sunland Racetrack

The New Mexico Livestock Board and the New Mexico Racing Commission are working with officials at Sunland Park Racetrack to ensure that a horse-specific virus is limited to just the few racehorses confirmed positive this week. Several barns at Sunland Park Racetrack are under quarantine following confirmation of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV), specifically EHV-1. The Livestock Board is taking extra precautions by restricting horse movement to and from the area that includes Sunland Park Racetrack, as well as local horse-training centers Frontera, Jovi, and Lazy S. There are several strains of EHV; none of them are transmissible to humans. Early reports suggesting the strain was EHV-4 - which produces mainly respiratory problems - were erroneous. The strain confirmed in the five horses at Sunland Park was the neurotropic form of EHV-1, which can cause severe neurological problems in horses. The first confirmation was made Thursday. According to the American Association of Equine Practitioners, EHV-1 is contagious and spread through contact: either directly from horse to horse, or indirectly via human handlers, feed and water buckets, grooming gear, riding tack, and trailers. Biosecurity measures being taken include isolating horses confirmed to have EHV-1; cleaning and disinfecting any surfaces or items horses may come into contact with; controlling foot traffic within the racetrack; providing plastic boot covers for personnel whose movement around the premises is essential; and sanitizing footwear and clothing...more

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