The Utah State Veterinarian’s Office has lifted all quarantines that it put into place for Cache County after two cases of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1) were discovered in late February.
The action came after the last two horses in the county that were believed to have been exposed to the virus passed a 28-day waiting period without becoming sick.
EHV-1 can affect a horse’s reproductive, respiratory and nervous systems, and can lead to death. The highly contagious disease also can spread rapidly among horses through the air, nose-to-nose contact, contaminated equipment, clothing and human hands.
There have been nine confirmed cases of EV-1 in Utah in the latest outbreak, all of which were confined to five different locations in Cache County. Four of the affected horses were euthanized because of their conditions. The Cache County Fairgrounds Horse Arena was temporarily closed during the outbreak because the affected horses had all been at the facility shortly before coming down with symptoms.
The state’s Veterinarian’s Office suspected that a common tie-down rail at the arena was contaminated by an infected horse and was the center of the outbreak.
State Veterinarian Bruce King said horse owners should feel confident that they can attend upcoming events with no more risk of contacting the disease than before the recent outbreak. “The EHV-1 virus was here before the outbreak, and it will be here after the outbreak,” King said.
King said it always is recommended that horse owners practice good “biosecurity” when taking their animals to events.
He is encouraging owners to visit the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food’s website at www.ag.utah.gov for up-to-date information on proper biosecurity.