Equine Herpes Outbreak in New Jersey

Quarantines have begun in Monmouth County, New Jersey, in an effort to prevent the spread of a neurological form of the Equine Herpes Virus, Type One (EHV-1). The virus was first discovered last week by a private veterinarian responding to a sick animal. The horse in question was euthanized when treatment proved ineffective.

What might have been an isolated case looks like it could spread as a second animal is being quarantined in Monmouth. Overbrook Farm, where the animals were discovered, has quarantined its animals, restricting their movement off the farm and limiting access to them to certain farm personnel. Overbrook Farm has successfully treated five sick animals thus far, and the Department of Agriculture has not yet stepped in, content to monitor the situation.

EHV-1 is a difficult disease to contain. It has the ability to spread rapidly between animals and has a high mortality rate. The primary strain of the disease can cause spontaneous abortions in pregnant horses and can lead to pneumonia, paralysis, and death in young horses. The neurological strain of the disease can impact older horses as well. Symptoms can be difficult to diagnose, since early symptoms share similarities with a host of other diseases. Vets in the area have warned owners to contact professionals if they suspect EHV-1.

The incubation period for EHV-1 is about 2-20 days. If no new cases are discovered within this period, Overbrook Farm will lift their quarantine.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer