BRADENTON, FLA. — Five horses in Manatee County tested positive for equine piroplasmosis (EP), a disease not reported in the United States since 1988.
The first case, a 7-year-old gelding that was euthanized after a three-week illness, was confirmed Aug. 15 after blood and tissue testing, according to Charles H. Bronson, Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services commissioner. Four days later, four more cases were confirmed on the same property.
All five positive animals were stabled in a barn. Other horses housed separately were negative. The property was placed under quarantine, as was two adjoining properties where horses are stabled.
EP is a blood-borne parasitic disease transmitted by ticks or contaminated needles. In this case, the five positives might have been spread by shared needles, according to a preliminary investigation at press time.
Anyone involved in Florida's horse industry was asked to notify a veterinarian if they suspect the disease.