Neurologic form of EHV-1 'a potentially emerging disease'

Published on March 01, 2007
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The Center for Emerging Issues, part of the Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, has released an emerging disease notice report regarding the neurologic form of equine herpesvirus.

In some instances, EHV-1 causes neurologic disease, which may necessitate euthanasia in horses that become recumbent.

The U.S. horse industry has become increasingly concerned about the disease because of the rising number of outbreaks reported in the past five years. In 2006, 11 outbreaks involving eight states were reported, compared with seven outbreaks involving five states reported in 2005. Prior to 2003, reports of the disease in the United States were sporadic, with typically no to few outbreaks identified annually. According to the CEI, more data are needed to determine whether reporting has increased, as opposed to an actual increase in number and severity of cases.

Updated as of January 2007, the CEI report assesses data on the disease situation in the United States and reviews historical reports of the disease. The report also includes an overview of the U.S. horse industry, international horse trade, and recommended biosecurity measures.

Horse practitioners and horse owners should continue to quarantine suspect and diagnosed cases. According to the CEI, using strict biosecurity measures in everyday procedures, even when disease is not suspected, is a key strategy in preventing the introduction and spread of infectious diseases. The USDA APHIS Veterinary Services has developed a brochure titled "Biosecurity—the key to keeping your horses healthy," (PDF, 811Kb).

Click here to view the Center for Emerging Issues report "Equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy: A potentially emerging disease," 

For another resource, members of the
American Association of Equine Practitioners
can access Equine Infectious Disease Outbreak:
AAEP Control Guidelines at