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Biosecurity Protocols Reminder Following Recent EHV-1 Outbreak in Europe

by US Equestrian Communications Department | Mar 2, 2021, 6:11 PM

A recent outbreak of an aggressive strain of the neurological form of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV) has resulted in the immediate cancellation of international events in 10 countries on the European mainland through March 28, 2021. The outbreak originated at a competition in Valencia, Spain, and is present in at least three other countries in Europe to date. There are no current EHV-1 outbreaks related to the Valencia competition evident in the U.S. at this time, but USEF is recommending members take important steps to protect their horses. USEF is working closely with competition organizers and veterinarians to ensure we are as prepared as possible for a potential outbreak in the U.S.

Below are some best practices you can implement immediately:

  1. Review and ensure you are prepared for quick implementation of an isolation plan at a competition grounds and/or at your home farm or facility
  2. Check your horse's temperature twice daily and maintain a temperature log
  3. Isolate horses at first signs of symptoms or illness and contact your vet immediately
  4. Keep separate feed buckets, brushes, rags, and tack/equipment for each horse
  5. Ask your veterinarian about appropriate cleaning solutions
  6. Eliminate communal or shared water troughs and buckets
  7. Practice hand washing in between handling horses
  8. Maintain social distancing for horses; limit nose to nose contact with other horses at the ring
  9. Ensure your horse is vaccinated for EHV (Rhinopneumonitis vaccine) in line with GR845

Please note that the vaccine does not protect against the neurological form of EHV, which is referred to as Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy (EHM) but does reduce the clinical signs and shedding of the virus. Early identification and reporting of ill horses is critical in order to trace possible points of exposure and to aid in the prevention of further spread of the disease. The first 30 minutes following identification of a potentially infectious horse frequently determines the extent and scope of transmission and potential outbreak. You should contact your veterinarian immediately for testing if a horse begins to display any symptoms of EHV. Competition managers should also be notified if the horse is at a competition.

If you are aware of individuals who are not following proper reporting protocols, please contact Debbie Saliling, USEF Director of Compliance, at [email protected].

Additional Resources:

  1. Biosecurity Measures Pamphlet
  2. Video: Biosecurity Measures for Horses at Home and at Competitions
  3. Biosecurity Toolkit for Equine Events 
  4. Equine Disease Communications Center 
  5. Isolation Protocol Supplies List 
  6. GR845 Equine Vaccination Rule 
  7. Equine Vaccination Record