Utah Department of Agriculture and Food

Equine Herpes Virus Outbreak Ends

All quarantines associated with the EHV-1 quarantine in Cache County have been officially released by the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food.

The Utah State Veterinarian's Office has lifted all quarantines that have been in place since Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1) was discovered in Cache County in late February, 2013. No other counties were affected by this EHV-1 outbreak.

The quarantine removals come after the last two horses at locations in the county have passed a 28 day waiting period without becoming sick after coming in contact with diseased horses.

There had been a total of nine confirmed cases of EHV-1 in Utah, all of which were confined to seven different locations in Cache County. The State Veterinarian's Office restricted the movement of infected and suspect animals as a precaution to prevent the spread of the disease.

Four of the affected horses were humanely euthanized because of their condition. The Cache County Fairgrounds Horse Arena was temporarily closed during this outbreak because the affected horses had been at the facility shortly before coming down with symptoms. It is suspected that a common tie-down rail at the Arena was contaminated by an infected horse and was the center of the outbreak.

State Veterinarian, Dr. Bruce King reminds horse owners that this herpes virus lies dormant in many horses, and symptoms may surface due to stress or contact with infected horses. He says it is always recommended that horse owners practice good biosecurity when taking their animals to equine events.

Horse owners should feel confident that they can attend upcoming events with no more risk of contracting the disease than before the recent outbreak.

"The EHV-1 virus was here before this outbreak, and it will be here after this outbreak," said Dr. King. He encourages horse owners to visit the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food's (UDAF) website for up-to-date information on proper biosecurity.

EHV-1 is not transmissible to people.

EHV-1 can affect a horse's reproductive, respiratory and nervous systems and can lead to death.

This highly contagious disease can spread rapidly among horses through the air, nose-to-nose contact, contaminated equipment, clothing, and human hands.

Equine Herpes Virus symptoms include fever, decreased coordination, nasal discharge, urine dribbling, loss of tail tone, hind limb weakness, leaning against a wall or fence to maintain balance, lethargy, and the inability to rise. While there is no cure, the symptoms of the disease may be treatable. Horse owners should watch their horses carefully and call their veterinarian immediately if any abnormal signs are observed.

An expanded list of biosecurity tips is available at:

Contact: Dr. Bruce L. King, DVM This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. State Veterinarian (801) 538-7162
Dr. Warren Hess This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Asst. State Veterinarian (801) 538-4910
Larry Lewis, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Public Information Officer (801) 538-7104
Cell (801) 514-2152

Posted: April 8, 2013