Educational material available on equine herpesvirus

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Jul 27, 2009
By dvm360.com staff
Washington -- A summary of the latest research on equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy (EHM), based on interviews with 18 veterinarians or state equine program managers who dealt with outbreaks in recent years, is available through the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspections Services' (APHIS) Centers for Epidemiology and Animal Health (CEAH).

The 74-page report, "Equine Herpesvirus Myeloencephalopathy: Mitigation Experiences, Lessons Learned, and Future Needs," along with an educational brochure about EHM, titled "Equine Herpesvirus (EHV) Myeloencephalopathy: A Guide to Understanding the Neurologic Form of EHV Infection," are available through APHIS.

Meanwhile, two experts discuss the report in the July edition of Equine Disease Quarterly, published by the Maxwell H. Gluck Equine Research Center at the University of Kentucky. Dr. Josie Traub-Dargatz, equine commodity specialist at Colorado State University, and Dr. Barbara Bischoff, a USDA veterinary analyst, write:

"In all situations discussed in the report, control strategies were implemented once an EHM case was identified, because further spread of the virus (EHV-1) was possible. Horse movement was stopped. In some instances, the state veterinarian imposed an official quarantine, and in others horse movement was voluntarily stopped by the veterinary hospital or racetrack or stable owner. Body temperatures of potentially affected horses were monitored in all outbreaks to quickly detect any fever and thus a potential EHV infection."

"Potentially exposed but clinically normal horses were tested in some outbreaks but not in others. Some of the veterinarians and equine program managers interviewed … indicated that this testing allowed them to determine the potential for future cases of EHM. Others indicated that, given the difficulty of test interpretation for these horses and limited knowledge about the risk they pose, there was no reason to test."

"A number of those interviewed … emphasized the need for clear, concise and accurate communication regarding the plan for outbreak control. A person with infection-control experience needs to be on site to review the protocols with caretakers of affected and exposed horses to be certain that all methods of disease transmission are adequately managed."

Click here for the full report.