In the past 3 weeks we have learned of multiple occurrences of EHV1 impacting equine events in California. Additionally, as we will soon be approaching the time of year that we historically see an increase in movement of equine exhibition and racing stock into Kentucky, I want to provide this status report describing the event in California as I understand it.
Our office has been in communications with representatives of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) who are managing the disease incidents in California. The CDFA recommends folks review their website or the Equine Disease Communication Center for the latest updates as they are updated daily as information is received. Published reports suggest there are multiple complexes and facilities affected. At this point-in-time, the outbreaks are affecting sport horses that had been or have had exposure to equine participating in events within California. As of today, I’ve not seen or heard of any reports that EHV1 is affecting racing populations in California. The reports do provide exposed horses on each of the affected premises have been isolated, are being quarantined and that California officials continue to closely monitor the events.
CALIFORNIA > KENTUCKY MOVEMENT
The California epidemiologic investigation is in its early stages, so the status of potentially exposed horses remains unknown, as does the risk of fomite (human) transmission to other facilities that may have occurred during the days preceding the diagnosis and regulatory intervention. While we are continuing to receive and assess information relative to the different disease events in California, we do not routinely see movement of sport horses from the Western States to Kentucky this time of year, thus we do not currently feel there is need to overly restrict all movement. We do though want to stress the importance of farms or other facilities that are receiving new arrivals, to know the environment and history of new horses coming in and take the necessary precautions to insure those new arrivals don’t introduce disease to your facility.
Lastly, do remember that mitigating risk of disease introduction is a shared responsibility that requires commitment from everyone. Below are links to the American Association of Equine Practitioners biosecurity guidelines that can be downloaded from either the AAEP site at https://aaep.org/site-search?search=biosecurity or the Equine Disease Communication Centers website at www.equinediseasecc.org. The documents provide good general guidance of practices that should be routinely implemented that includes segregating and monitoring all new arrivals.
We will continue to monitor the disease events and will keep you apprised of any changes that may be warranted.
E.S. Rusty Ford
Equine Operations Consultant
Office State Veterinarian
KY Department Agriculture