Last of Florida EP-positive horses removed
At one point, 25 premises in seven counties were under quarantine, following the original outbreak in Manatee County in September. In all, some 200 horses were tested, and about 20 were positive. Some of the positive horses were humanely euthanized, and others sent to a laboratory in Ames, Iowa.
The final six quarantines will remain in effect until they pass 60 days after exposure, tests on remaining horses are negative and no positive or foreign ticks are found.
The disease, eradicated from Florida and the nation in 1988, usually is spread by means of foreign ticks, but none were found throughout the investigation, leading to the conclusion that the disease was spread by poor management practices, such as shared needles.
All horses involved were from local dirt-track Quarter Horse racing circuits. The original positives had been in contact with positive horses imported from Mexico, investigators found.
Horses transported out of Florida are unrestricted in the United States, but Canada has imposed several restrictions, including proof that horses were inspected by a veterinarian within 15 days preceding importation. It also requires that horses entering Canada from other states have a certificate showing the animals had not been in Florida for the previous 21 days.