UPDATE: Four New Cases of Equine Herpes

Meanwhile, a horse put down last week had tested positive, but the virus was not the reason it had become recumbent.

UPDATE: Four new cases of Equine Herpes Virus-1 were discovered Tuesday at the Rancho Sierra Vista Equestrian Center, bringing the total number of tested-positve horses to 15. Only one of the 15 horses has shown neurologic signs, a state agency reports. The facility remains under quarantine. In addition, . Officials are not aware of a link between the two counties.


The horse put down last week probably did not become recumbent because of an equine virus that has been sweeping across a local equestrian center, a necropsy has revealed.

According to the state Department of Food and Agriculture’s animal health division, the horse, euthanized Wednesday, had tested positive for Neuropathogenic Equine Herpes Virus-1, but “it is highly unlikely that the recumbency was due to the HEHV-1 infection,” the state reports on a website set up to update the public about the outbreak.

So far, 11 horses at the  in San Juan Capistrano have tested positive for the virus.

While the virus doesn’t affect humans, people can transmit it to other horses from their clothing and boots. The stables remain quarantined, and workers and horse owners are following strict protocol to keep the highly contagious virus from spreading.

, according to the state.

“Only the initial, confirmed-positive horse displayed neurologic signs and he is currently recovering,” the Food and Agriculture website states. “All other confirmed NEHV-1 positive horses displayed respiratory symptoms, limb edema and/or fever.”

There have been no new cases reported since Thursday, when two more horses testing positive brought the total to 11.

Equine Herpes Virus-1 is a serious disease involving inflammation of small blood vessels in the spinal cord and/or brain. It can be airborne and transmitted by touch, close contact between horses or by sharing feed, brushes, bits and other equipment, according to a press release from the city.

Symptoms include fever, sneezing, staggering and partial paralysis. Horses with symptoms should be isolated and kept 40 feet or more from other horses. Owners should contact their veterinarian if they witness any of these symptoms, according to the city.

City officials sent out an alert last week, advising residents with horses at any local stable to take precautions, such as:

  • Do not work with healthy horses after caring for a sick horse – people can easily transmit this virus on their hands and clothing
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water between contacts with horses to reduce risks of disease spread
  • Wear disposable gloves and change them between horses or use hand sanitizers between contact with horses
  • Thoroughly clean and disinfect boots and footwear between entry into barns and stalls to help minimize the spread of disease


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