Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Confirms 3 Cases of EHM
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture confirmed today 3 horses at a Bucks County horse farm have been euthanized due to infection with the neurologic form of EHV-1 (EHM). The farm has been under quarantine from the first signs of disease. Trace back information indicates one of the 3 euthanized horses was in a show in New Jersey 10 days before the onset of the disease. The New Jersey Department of Agriculture is in contact with the exposed farm and is monitoring for any signs of the disease.
EHV-1 spreads quickly from horse to horse, has a high morbidity, and can cause a wide range of symptoms from a complete lack of clinical signs, to respiratory problems (especially in young horses), and spontaneous abortions in pregnant mares. Transmission of the virus is mostly via direct contact with infected materials; therefore, tack must not be shared between horses and biosecurity measures must be utilized. While highly infectious, the virus does not persist in the environment and is neutralized by hand soap, alcohol-based hand sanitizers, and sunlight. More information on the Equine Herpes Virus can be found at the New Jersey Department of Agriculture website.
EHM is a reportable disease and must be reported to the Division of Animal Health at 609-671-6400. The NJ Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory (609-406-6999) recommends PCR testing for horses exhibiting neurological signs.
Laboratory submission form can be found at http://www.nj.gov/agriculture/ahdl/