BISMARCK – The North Dakota State Board of Animal Health and the North Dakota Department of Agriculture’s Animal Health Division are reminding horse owners to protect their horses from equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1). A horse in Burleigh County has been confirmed positive for equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy (EHM), the neurologic manifestation of the virus.
Since September, cases of EHM have been reported in multiple states including Kentucky, Florida, Massachusetts and California.
EHV-1 can be spread by direct contact, through the air, and on contaminated equipment, clothing and hands. Biosecurity measures that can reduce the risk of spreading the disease include avoiding shared food or water containers and preventing nose-to-nose contact.
Any equines entering North Dakota for any length of time must be accompanied by a certificate of veterinary inspection.
“Prevention starts by keeping sick animals at home and being aware of the risk factors while traveling and competing,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Ethan Andress.
EHV-1 can cause respiratory disease, abortion, neonatal death and sometimes the neurologic form of the disease, EHM. Current EHV-1 vaccines may reduce viral shedding but are not protective against the neurologic form of the disease.
“These incidents serve as a reminder to work with your local veterinarian on preventive programs for all species,” Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said.
Although highly infectious and contagious among horses, EHV-1 poses no threat to human health.