Ohio officials lift herpes quarantine at Beulah Park

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REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio — Ohio Department of Agriculture officials lifted a quarantine at Beulah Park Feb. 8, declaring it safe for horses to move in and out of the facility, following an equine herpes virus 1 (EHV–1) outbreak, which occurred between Dec. 22 and Jan. 11.

This action signifies 30 days have elapsed since the last clinical signs of the disease were detected at the 3811 Southwest Blvd., Grove City racing facility.

Symptoms

On Dec. 22, the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory performed a necropsy (animal autopsy) on a Thoroughbred horse that exhibited signs of neurological illness before it died at the southwest Columbus track.

A quarantine was immediately placed on Beulah Park Dec. 23 after laboratory test results from the necropsy substantiated the presence of the EHV-1 organism.

During the course of the outbreak, the department confirmed the organism in two additional Thoroughbred horses exhibiting the same symptoms that also died at the track.

The EHV-1 organism can spread quickly from horse to horse and can cause three different forms of disease: rhinopneumonitis (a respiratory disease of mostly young horses), abortions in pregnant mares, and the neurologic disease EHV-1 myeloencephalopathy, which can be fatal to horses. The stricken horses at Beulah Park showed symptoms of the neurological form. The virus is not a human health threat.

Due to quick action and biosecurity measures, the virus was contained to one barn and no other horses were harmed.

This is the first outbreak in Ohio since 2003, when scientists from the department worked quickly to isolate and characterize the equine herpes virus strain that caused an equine disease outbreak in Hancock County.

Limiting exposure

“The professional work of staff at Beulah Park was critical in limiting exposure to EHV-1,” said State Veterinarian Tony Forshey. “Thanks to their cooperation and thorough work in following essential biosecurity measures we were able to quickly resolve this quarantine situation.”

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