Maryland: EHV-1 Positives Up To 26, Racing Cancelled Next Weekend

POSTED ON  |  03-04-2021

Laurel Park Barn
The EHV-1 quarantine for horses at Laurel Park and Pimlico could now continue until mid-April and racing is cancelled through April 4, racing officials said during a horsemen's teleconference on Friday. A total of 26 horses have tested positive for the virus and are now in isolation at Bowie Training Center, and another 10 horses are suspected to have the virus but awaiting test results. Most of those horses have come from Laurel Park, but Pimlico has also had one positive with test results pending on another horse.

Veterinarians with The Stronach Group and state health officials described a shift in procedures for testing and quarantine as the situation has continued to evolve from the first EHV-1 positive at Laurel in early March. There are two schools of thought on the best testing procedures in EHV-1 outbreaks: one that suggests testing all potentially exposed horses and releasing them after two weeks if they test negative and show no symptoms. The other suggests a 21 to 28-day quarantine for exposed horses, and testing only of symptomatic horses. Initially, officials took the 14-day approach but quickly found a high number of positives from asymptomatic horses.

Dr. Dionne Benson, chief veterinary officer for 1/ST RACING, said Friday that some 30 percent of the population is expected to be shedding the virus at any given time while having no illness. Most veterinarians agree that horses are commonly exposed to equine herpesvirus but for whatever reason, many never actually get sick from it. Horses who are sick and shedding the virus through their nasal secretions are releasing much greater amounts of the virus and therefore represent a danger to others that asymptomatic carriers likely don't.

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