EHV-1: two more horses dead and cases confirmed in Belgium and France

  • Two more horses have died from equine herpes virus (EHV-1) in Valencia – while cases have been confirmed in Belgium and France linked to the Sunshine Tour.

    Yesterday (9 March) the FEI confirmed a horse had died at a veterinary clinic in Valencia, and today (10 March) a horse that had undergone colic surgery in Valencia was put down. This brings the total number of deaths relating to the Valencia outbreak to 12.

    An FEI spokesman said 138 horses still remain on site in Valencia, 10 of whom are still being treated but do not have neurological symptoms. There are 14 in the university hospital in Valencia, and one in hospital in Barcelona.

    In an update to the situation surrounding horses who had been at the Sunshine Tour in Vejer de la Frontera, yesterday the FEI confirmed that a horse who had returned home from the venue to Belgium had tested positive for EHV-1.

    “This horse, which was placed in isolation immediately on return to its home stables in Belgium, was a close in-contact to the first horse that developed a fever at the Vejer de la Frontera venue,” said the spokesman.

    “This first horse was put into isolation on 26 February, displayed neurological signs on 4 March, and although it tested negative to EHV-1, that result was inconclusive. A second horse on the venue developed neurological signs on 5 March and was also transferred to the isolation stables.”

    There has also been a positive case confirmed in France, at stables Haras du Ry, the base of Australian showjumper Amy Graham.

    In a statement yesterday a spokesman for Haras du Ry said, with “much distress”, that six horses had tested positive for EHV-1 yesterday, following their return from the Sunshine Tour.

    “Thankfully all horses are currently asymptomatic and are being monitored closely and treated with the best veterinary care possible. All eight horses that returned from Spain entered a strict biosecurity quarantine area upon their return on 3 March and have remained securely isolated,” read the statement.

    “The horses were PCR tested on 8 March and we received the results this morning with six of the eight horses returning a positive test. Our horses were all up to date on their vaccinations, including EVH-1. We maintain our vaccination program diligently to help protect from disease. Unfortunately some have still contracted EVH-1 in Spain.”

    Continued below…

    The statement added that upon receiving the results, the stable had informed the French national federation, FEI, Equestrian Australia, the Sunshine Tour, and owners and clients. The team also informed the riders in stables close to Amy’s horses at the tour and any surrounding riders who may have had contact in Spain.

    “The health of our horses and team is our priority and we will be taking every measure to ensure our horses make a full recovery and the virus remains contained,” said the spokesman.

    “Our equestrian centre at Haras du Ry has been closed since our horses returned from Spain and no horses have left or arrived on the property in this time. Our stables will remain closed until further notice as we focus on our horses recovery and preserving the health of all horses and people at our facility.”

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