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2006 Herpes Crisis Ends in Maryland

 

 

Equine Herpes Crisis Over

New Reporting Requirements Issued

by Laurel Scott

Two months after the initial outbreak of the equine herpesvirus (EHV-1) that resulted in the euthanization of six Maryland horses, the virus appears to have run its course.

 

The last horses to test negative for EHV-1 were stabled at the Fair Hill Training Center. Ten of these had previously tested positive for the virus, but never developed the dangerous neurologic symptoms that sometimes occur with this disease. When Fair Hill’s “all-clear” came on March 9, the Maryland Department of Agriculture was at last able to declare the state free of active reported cases of EHV-1. The previous day, test results on two horses isolated in Pimlico’s Detention Barn and two Laurel horses isolated at Bowie had come back negative. This prompted the lifting of the final Hold Orders at Maryland’s racetracks, which had lost four horses to the virus. The Hold Order on the Worton (Eastern Shore) farm that had lost two event horses was released on March 4.

 

In the wake of this crisis, the Maryland Department of Agriculture has issued a new reporting requirement for Maryland veterinarians on so-called “Equine Neurologic Syndrome.”

 

Under Maryland law (Agriculture Article, Section 3-105 Annotated Code of Maryland) veterinarians are required to report immediately to the secretary of agriculture (in practice, the state veterinarian acting on behalf of the secretary of agriculture) any contagious and infectious disease among livestock or poultry of which he/she has knowledge.

 

As of March 1, the list of reportable diseases includes “Equine Neurologic Syndrome,” which the MDA defines as “equine neurologic disease likely caused by an infectious pro-cess (not by developmental problems, trauma or toxic situations) consistent with rabies, equine herpesvirus, viral encephalitidies such as West Nile, Eastern and Western Equine and others. Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis is not a primary disease of interest in this reporting requirement, although it is likely to meet the clinical definition [that] will trigger reporting.”

 

According to the MDA’s March 3 press release, “The purpose of requiring this syndromic reporting is to enable the Maryland Department of Agriculture to make a clinical and epidemiologic assessment in the most timely manner possible and take action appro-priate to the specific situation.The reporting requirement needs no laboratory documentation, only a veterinary clinical diagnosis of central nervous system involvement.

 

“Reports should be made to the office of the state veterinarian at 410-841-5810 as soon as practical after identifying equine neurologic syndrome in a horse.Veterinarians should prioritize this reporting as an urgent matter.Same day reporting should be the norm.”

 

A full list of reportable equine diseases in Maryland is available by clicking here. For all reportable animal diseases, click here

__________________________

 

What have we learned?

 

"You can't quarantine a barn that is 50 feet from another and think you're safe." - Kim Meier-Morani

 

"There is a balancing act between animal health and the welfare of the animal industry that you're trying to protect." - Dr. Guy Hohenhaus

 

To read more about how Marylanders have responded to the Equine Herpesvirus, in the April 2006 issue or in the May 2006 Issue

Or call 800-244-9580, or email info@equiery.com and ask for copies of the April or May 2006 issues.

 

 

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Equine Herpesvirus Outbreak Strikes Maryland

 

 

Herpes Update, The Equiery, March 2006 2006 Equine Herpes Crises TimelineQuarantine vs. Hold Order Reportable Equine Diseases

Maryland Department of Agriculture Quarantine RegulationsMaryland State Protocols for Instituting a Quarantine

 

Maryland Department of Agriculture Press ReleasesMaryland Jockey Club Press Releases Transcripts of News Conferences

Maryland Department of Agriculture WebsiteMaryland Jockey Club Website

Biosecurity Tips for Stable OperatorsBiosecurity Tips for Horse Shippers

The Annotated Code of Maryland

 

 

Press Releases from the Maryland Department of Agriculture

03-09-06 - The Fair Hill Training Center reported this afternoon that test results returned today on all the horses in the barn affected by equine herpesvirus are negative. Ten had previously tested positive. None of the horses had neurologic signs of the virus. With these results, there are no reported cases of any form of EHV-1 in Maryland.

Mar 08, 2006
Final Four Horses Test Negative for Equine Herpesvirus

Last Hold Order in Maryland to be Lifted Today - Remind Horse Owners to Consult with Private Veterinarian on Vaccination Program and Biosecurity Protocols
ANNAPOLIS, MD (March 8, 2006) - Test results on the two horses isolated in the Detention Barn at Pimlico and the two horses from Laurel Barn 9 that are isolated in a barn at Bowie are negative for equine herpesvirus, bringing to closure the entire outbreak in Maryland. The Maryland Department of Agriculture has lifted the "General Animal Hold Order" at Bowie and expects to do the same at Pimlico after the final veterinary exam later this afternoon. All four horses that tested negative for EHV-1 are free to resume normal activities.


“These negative tests bring this EHV-1 outbreak to official closure in Maryland as all hold orders have been lifted and there are no reported signs of the virus anywhere in the state," said State Veterinarian Guy Hohenhaus. “This is good news for all of Maryland’s horse owners and related businesses. We thank all parties involved for their patience and diligence in stopping the spread of the virus. While this event is now over, we remind all horse owners that a robust vaccination program is important, as well as adopting a good standard of bio-security protocols for their farms and horses. We recommend that horse owners consult with their private veterinarian on which vaccines and biosecurity measures are most appropriate for a particular horse and farm.”


Last month, the MDA lifted the Hold Orders on Barns 5, 6 and A at Pimlico while the Maryland Jockey Club lifted its self-imposed quarantine. Three horses from three different Pimlico barns were euthanized in January. The last clinical case of the virus at Pimlico happened January 19. There have been no outbreaks at the Bowie Training Center where approximately 600 horses are stabled.


The farm in Kent County where two horses were euthanized due to EHV-1 was released from a Hold Order on Saturday, March 4, 2006 after all 17 horses at the farm tested negative for the virus. The last clinical sign of the virus on the farm was on February 4.


Equine herpesvirus causes upper respiratory infection and can also cause neurological disease. There is currently no known method to reliably prevent the neurologic form of EHV-1 infection. More information about the virus and preventive bio-security measure is available at www.mda.state.md.us.

 

3-04-06 - Hold Order on the Kent County farm was lifted this morning.

The Hold Order on Laurel Barn 9 was lifted March 3.

 

Mar 03, 2006
New Reporting Requirement for Maryland Veterinarians

Equine Neurologic Syndrome, Including EHV-1 Signs, Added as of March 1, 2006
ANNAPOLIS, MD (March 3, 2006) - Under Maryland law (Agriculture Article, Section 3-105 Annotated Code of Maryland) veterinarians are required to report immediately to the Secretary of Agriculture (in practice, the State Veterinarian acting on behalf of the Secretary of Agriculture) any contagious and infectious disease among livestock or poultry of which he/she has knowledge. The Maryland Department of Agriculture has published a list of these reportable diseases and has added equine neurologic syndrome as of March 1, 2006.


The syndrome is defined as equine neurologic disease which is likely caused by an infectious process (not caused by situations such as trauma, toxic, developmental etc.) consistent with rabies, equine herpesvirus, viral encephalitidies such as West Nile, Eastern and Western Equine and others. Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis is not a primary disease of interest in this reporting requirement, although it is likely to meet the clinical definition which will trigger reporting.


The purpose of requiring this syndromic reporting is to enable the Maryland Department of Agriculture to make a clinical and epidemiologic assessment in the most timely manner possible and take action appropriate to the specific situation. The reporting requirement needs no laboratory documentation, only a veterinary clinical diagnosis of central nervous system involvement.


Reports should be made to the Office of the State Veterinarian at 410.841.5810 as soon as practical after identifying equine neurologic syndrome in a horse. Veterinarians should prioritize this reporting as an urgent matter. Same day reporting should be the norm.
A full list of reportable diseases in Maryland can be found at www.mda.state.md.us/animal_health/diseases/index.php

 

 

Mar 03, 2006
All 17 Horses on Kent County Farm Test Negative for Equine Herpesvirus
Hold Order to Be Lifted Saturday

ANNAPOLIS, MD (March 3, 2006) B Test results on all 17 horses at a Kent County farm affected by the neurologic form of equine herpesvirus are negative for the virus. Maryland Department of Agriculture expects to lift the "Hold Order" on the farm on Saturday, March 4 after a final veterinary inspection is conducted. When the Hold Order is lifted, the farm and the horses can resume normal activities. The Hold Order has been in place since Jan. 26 when the first of two horses were euthanized on the farm due to the virus. The last clinical signs of EHV-1 on the farm were on Feb. 4.


This morning, MDA lifted the Hold Order on Laurel Barn 9 allowing the 34 horses that tested negative for EHV-1 to resume normal activities. Two additional horses in the barn are not showing any signs of the virus but did not clear the testing process and have been relocated to an isolated barn on the grandstand side of the Bowie Training Center until they test negative. The two were re-tested at Laurel Park this morning before being shipped to Bowie. The remaining horses in Barn 9 will resume normal activities and are eligible to race Wednesday, March 8. A filly stabled in the barn was euthanized January 26, with test results confirming neurologic EHV-1.


At Pimlico Race Course, four of the six horses in the Detention Barn tested negative for the virus in both blood samples and nasal swab tests and have been moved back to their original barns to resume normal activities. The two which did not clear are not showing symptoms of EHV-1 but remain under a Hold Order and are prohibited from mixing with the general horse population until they test negative.


Last month, the MDA lifted the Hold Orders on Barns 5, 6 and A at Pimlico while the Maryland Jockey Club lifted its self-imposed quarantine. Three horses from three different Pimlico barns were euthanized in January. The last clinical case of the virus at Pimlico happened January 19. There have been no outbreaks at the Bowie Training Center where approximately 600 horses are stabled.


Equine herpesvirus causes upper respiratory infection and can also cause neurological disease. There is currently no known method to reliably prevent the neurologic form of EHV-1 infection. More information about the virus and preventive bio-security measure is available at www.mda.state.md.us.

Thirty-Four Horses Test Negative for Equine Herpesvirus in Laurel Barn 9
Hold Order to Be Lifted ANNAPOLIS, MD (March 2, 2006)
Friday morning the Maryland Department of Agriculture expects to lift the "General Animal Hold Order" on Laurel Barn 9 allowing the 34 horses that tested negative for EHV-1 to resume normal activities. Two additional horses in the barn are not showing any signs of the virus but did not clear the testing process and will be relocated to an isolated barn on the grandstand side of the Bowie Training Center until they test negative. The two will be re-tested at Laurel Park in the morning before being shipped to Bowie. The remaining horses in Barn 9 will resume normal activities and are eligible to race Wednesday, March 8.  A filly stabled in the barn was euthanized January 26, with test results confirming neurologic EHV-1.


Meanwhile at Pimlico Race Course, four of the six horses in the Detention Barn tested negative for the virus in both blood samples and nasal swab tests and have been moved back to their original barns to resume normal activities. The two which did not clear are not showing symptoms of EHV-1 but are prohibited from mixing with the general horse population until they test negative.


Last month, the MDA lifted the Hold Orders on Barns 5, 6 and A at Pimlico while the Maryland Jockey Club lifted its self-imposed quarantine. Three horses from three different Pimlico barns were euthanized in January. The last clinical case of the virus at Pimlico happened January 19.  There have been no outbreaks at the Bowie Training Center where approximately 600 horses are stabled. 


The farm in Kent County where two horses were euthanized due to EHV-1 is still under a Hold Order while laboratory tests are completed. The last clinical sign of the virus on the farm was on February 4.


Equine herpesvirus causes upper respiratory infection and can also cause neurological disease. There is currently no known method to reliably prevent the neurologic form of EHV-1 infection. More information about the virus and preventive bio-security measure is available at www.mda.state.md.us.

 

3-02-06 - Equine Neurologic Syndrome added to the list of diseases reportable to the State Veterinarian in Maryland Effective March 1, 2006


Under Maryland law, veterinarians are required to report immediately to the Maryland Department of Agriculture/State Veterinarian (acting on behalf of the Secretary of Agriculture) any contagious and infectious disease among livestock or poultry of which he/she has knowledge.  The Maryland Department of Agriculture has published a list of these reportable diseases and has included equine neurologic syndrome as of March 1, 2006.  


The syndrome is defined as equine neurologic disease which is likely caused by an infectious process (not caused by situations such as trauma, toxic, developmental etc.) consistent with rabies, equine herpesvirus, viral encephalitidies such as West Nile, Eastern and Western Equine and others.  Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis is not a primary disease of interest in this reporting requirement, although it is likely to meet the clinical definition which will trigger reporting.


The purpose of requiring this syndromic reporting is to enable the Maryland Department of Agriculture to make a clinical and epidemiologic assessment in the most timely manner possible and take action appropriate to the specific situation.  The reporting requirement needs no laboratory documentation, only a veterinary clinical diagnosis of central nervous system involvement.


Reports should be made to the Office of the State Veterinarian at 410.841.5810 as soon as practical after identifying equine neurologic syndrome in a horse.  Veterinarians should prioritize this reporting as an urgent matter.  Same day reporting should be the norm.


3-01-06 -
Everything remains quiet with no new indications of EHV-1 at any of the Maryland locations involved.  Samples were taken from all 17 horses at the Kent County farm on Monday.

2-24-06 - Everything has been quiet this week as we await test results on Pimlico Barn 8 and Laurel Barn 9.  There are no new indications of EHV-1 at any of the Maryland locations involved. Test results are expected back on about Monday, Feb.27.  Samples will be taken on Monday, Feb. 27 from all of the horses on the Kent County farm.  The Hold Order has been extended on the farm to cover the testing time until results are returned.


2-24-06 Update from Kentucky on its restrictions
(for full update click here): 


EHV UPDATE from Kentucky 2/24/06
During the week, Dr. Rob Holland -an equine infectious disease veterinarian from Lexington, and I had the opportunity to travel to Maryland where we visited premises affected by the recent EHV-1 outbreak. In addition, we were participants in an equine herpes virus information sharing forum hosted by the Fair Hills [sic]Training Center with the Maryland Department of Agriculture’s participation as well.


At this time, we are satisfied that the disease on Fair Hills [sic] Training Center has been contained to the original barn with no evidence of transmission outside of the barn having occurred. Effective immediately, horses from non-affected barns on Fair Hills will be permitted entry into Kentucky so long as they fully meet our current entry requirements which do include having not been in an affected barn-

2-17-06 - An Equine Herpesvirus Forum, organized by the Fair Hill Training Center (FHTC), is scheduled for Tuesday, February 21, 2006 at 5:00 p.m. at the Edward L. Walls Activity Center, Cecil County Fairgrounds, Route 273 in Elkton.  Guest speakers will include Dr. Robert Holland from Lexington, KY; E.S. Rusty Ford from Turfway Park; and representatives from the Maryland Department of Agriculture. 

2-17-06 - Hold Order on Pimlico's Barn A Lifted. Track to Resume Regular Training Hours Beginning Saturday
ANNAPOLIS, MD (Feb. 17, 2005) B The Maryland Department of Agriculture lifted the “General Animal Hold Order” on Barn A at Pimlico Race Course after 21 of the 25 horses in the barn tested negative for equine herpesvirus (EHV-1) on both Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), blood sample and nasal swab tests.
 
The four horses from Barn A which did not clear the testing process are being isolated in Barn 8, the Detention Barn, and along with two others from Barn 6 who didn’t clear last week, have been prohibited from mixing with the general horse population until they test negative. The Department Of Agriculture plans on taking blood samples and nasal swabs on the horses stabled in Barn 8 next Tuesday, February 21 to determine if the virus is still present.


“Lifting the last remaining Hold Order at Pimlico is a positive that things are coming to a close there,” said State Veterinarian Guy Hohenhaus. “We will continue working with all parties involved to monitor the situation and bring it to a conclusion. We thank the owners, trainers and staff for their diligence in practicing prudent bio-security measures and their patience as we work through this science-based process that will make sure the remaining horses test negative before they will be released from the Detention Barn.”
Beginning tomorrow morning Pimlico returns to normal training hours (6-10 a.m.) and each horse stabled on the grounds (except the six in the Detention Barn) will be allowed to race at Laurel Park.
Last week, the Department Of Agriculture lifted the Hold Orders on Barns 5 and 6 at Pimlico and the Maryland Jockey Club lifted its self-imposed quarantine, allowing horses from the legendary Baltimore track to compete at Laurel. Three horses from three different Pimlico barns were euthanized last month. The last clinical case of the virus at Pimlico happened January 19.


“We are delighted to see the situation progressing the way we had hoped,” said Maryland Jockey Club President and Chief Operating Officer Lou Raffetto. “The fact we will be back to normal training hours tomorrow and have another barn released at Pimlico is good news for all. We feel confident we are reaching the end of the road regarding the virus and look forward to the day when we are back to 100 percent normalcy.”


At Laurel Park Barn 9 is under a Hold Order until Friday, February 24, pending negative test results. A filly was euthanized January 26. Two horses in the barn had a spike in fever last weekend but tested negative for the virus in both blood samples and nasal swab tests. The Department of Agriculture will test the entire barn on Wednesday, February 22.
There have been no outbreaks at the Bowie Training Center where approximately 600 horses are stabled.


Equine herpesvirus causes upper respiratory infection and can also cause neurological disease There is currently no known method to reliably prevent the neurologic form of EHV-1 infection.  It is recommended to maintain appropriate vaccination procedures in an attempt to reduce the incidence of the respiratory form of EHV-1 infection, which may help prevent the neurologic form. Transmission of the virus can occur via coughing or sneezing over a distance of up to 35 feet as well as by direct contact with infected horses, feed and equipment. Based on clinical signs, there is no reason to believe that there is any human health risk.


Biosecurity information for stable operators, horse shippers, and for animal owners as a whole, as well as information about equine herpesvirus is available on line at www.mda.state.md.us or by calling MDA at 410-841-5810.

2-15-06 - The "General Animal Hold Order" on Barn 9 at Laurel has been extended to Feb. 23 due to two horses showing a fever, one of which tested positive on nasal swab sample for EHV-1.  The second horse tested negative and neither horse has shown any neurologic signs. After Feb. 23, horses in the barn will be tested for release on the hold order.


Yesterday, nasal swab samples were taken on 25 horses in Barn A and the two in Barn 8 at Pimlico.  If those tests are negative, the barns could be released from the hold order, clearing all barns at Pimlico.  Test results are expected back next Monday.


The horse at Fair Hill that tested positive on nasal swab was no longer febrile on Sunday and still shows no signs of neurologic disease.  Test results on samples taken from all of the horses in the affected barn on Monday are expected back by the end of the week. All horses continue to be free from signs of equine herpesvirus.


2-14-06
- Two horses from the same barn at Fair Hill Training Center in Cecil County were tested last week for equine herpesvirus after showing a fever.  One horse tested negative, while nasal swab samples from the second horse tested positive. The horse has never exhibited any neurologic signs and no other horses in the barn or at any other location on the facility have any signs of any form of EHV-1.  After examining the horse and the entire situation and consulting with the attending veterinarian, MDA determined that this did not meet the definition of a neurologic equine herpesvirus outbreak and did not trigger regulatory action; however, MDA is in frequent contact with the Center and its veterinarian and is monitoring the situation closely.  Yesterday, the Training Center pro-actively tested all the horses in the affected barn and requested that an MDA veterinarian be on-hand to verify the sampling process and submittal. MDA has not requested that this additional testing be done.  No horses are leaving the facility from the affected barn.


On January 22nd, the Fair Hill Training Center placed restrictions on horses coming onto the facility.  On February 3, the Training Center further restricted access in order to maintain its EHV-free status: An e-mail notice on Feb. 1, stated that it was "hiring guards and will be closing off access from 1800 until 0600 nightly from Lewisville Road via a security gate.  They will be contracting with a local security firm to man the Training Center Road gates (ie the red gates) around the clock. Signs will be posted at both entrances.  While access to the area will remain open for NRMA users and tenants, horse vans will be restricted to those vanning from other "Equine Herpes" free tracks, ie, Penn National, Philadelphia Park, New York tracks, etc.  This restriction will most likely remain in effect until the hold orders are lifted at the Laurel and Pimlico tracks.  Trail riders utilizing FHNRMA will be allowed passage but no riding onto the Training Center will be allowed.


Other News:  The situations at Pimlico and Laurel remain stable.  MDA field inspectors visited the Kent County farm on Saturday and reported no new cases.  If there are no new signs of illness on the farm, it is anticipated that the "General Animal Hold Order" would be lifted on February 27th.

Feb 09, 2006
More Pimlico Horses Test Negative for Equine Herpesvirus
Hold Order on Barn 6 Lifted – No New Cases on Kent County Farm

ANNAPOLIS, MD (Feb. 9, 2006) - Thirty-three of 35 horses in Barn 6 at Pimlico Race Course have tested negative for equine herpesvirus on both Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) and virus isolation tests, allowing the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) to lift Hold Orders on Barns 6.  Two horses from Barn 6 did not clear the testing process and are being isolated in Barn 8.  This will let the other horses in Barn 6 begin training with the rest of the horse population at the track.  Horses in Barn 6 have been prohibited from mixing with the general horse population since MDA’s State Veterinarian placed a Hold Order on the barn on January 13.  Hold Orders on Pimlico Barn A; Barn 9 at Laurel Park; and the Kent County Farm remain in place. Samples from horses in Barn A will be taken next week to begin the process of releasing that barn from the Hold Order.


“This is positive news and another sign that we are turning the corner at Pimlico,” said State Veterinarian Guy Hohenhaus. “We continue to work with all involved at Pimlico, Laurel and on the Kent County farm to bring these incidents to conclusion. It will continue to take time, diligence and patience as we work through a step-by-step science-based process that will make sure all horses test negative before the remaining Hold Orders will be lifted.” 


There have been no new cases of equine herpesvirus at Pimlico since Jan.19 or at Laurel since Jan. 26.  The most recent onset of clinical EHV signs at the Kent County farm was on February 2.  That horse was euthanized on Feb. 5.  Since then there have been no new cases on the farm.   


A total of eight horses on the private farm have been affected by EHV-1: two horses have been euthanized; four have had fevers at some point during the course of events but are no longer febrile; the remaining two horses are recovering from neurologic signs - one has made an almost full recovery and another continues to improve.  The farm has been under a Hold Order since Jan. 26.  The Hold Order will remain in place for 21 days after the last signs of infection are gone.


“This is a good time to remind everyone to maintain their preventive - or biosecurity - measures to keep their animals healthy now and throughout the year,” said Hohenhaus.  “Let’s use this unfortunate outbreak as a lesson to improve our everyday practices on the track, at horse events, and on our farms.  The main things to remember to prevent or control animal illness are: look for signs, report illness, and practice biosecurity - which includes aggressive vaccination.”


Equine herpesvirus-1 (also known as Rhinopneumonitis), which causes upper respiratory infection, can also cause neurological signs.  Among the first signs of the illness are unexplained fever and mild to severe ataxia or unsteady balance. There is currently no known method to reliably prevent the neurologic form of EHV-1 infection.  It is recommended to maintain appropriate vaccination procedures in an attempt to reduce the incidence of the respiratory form of EHV-1 infection, which may help prevent the neurologic form. Transmission of the virus can occur via coughing or sneezing over a distance of up to 35 feet as well as by direct contact with infected horses, handlers, feed and equipment.  There is no reason to believe that there is any human health risk.


Biosecurity information for stable operators, horse shippers, and for animal owners as a whole, as well as information about equine herpesvirus is available on line at www.mda.state.md.us or by calling MDA at 410-841-5810.

 

Feb 07, 2006
Pimlico Horses Test Negative for Equine Herpesvirus

Hold Orders on Barns 5 and 8 Lifted
ANNAPOLIS, MD (Feb. 7, 2005) -  All 43 of horses in Barn 5 and Barn 8 at Pimlico Race Course have tested negative for equine herpesvirus on both Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) and virus isolation tests, allowing the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) to lift Hold Orders on those two barns.  This will let horses in those barns begin training with the rest of the horse population at the track.  Horses in Barn 5 have been prohibited from mixing with the general horse population since MDA’s State Veterinarian placed a Hold Order on the barn on January 6.  The eight horses in Barn 8, which are those that showed clinical signs of EHV-1, have been in total isolation from the rest of the horse population at the track. Hold Orders on Pimlico Barns 6 and A; Barn 9 at Laurel Park; and the Kent County Farm remain in place.


“After 31 days we have some truly positive news at Pimlico and feel that we are turning the corner there,” said State Veterinarian Guy Hohenhaus. “We continue to work with all involved at Pimlico, Laurel and on the Kent County farm to bring these incidents to conclusion. It will take time and continued diligence and patience as we work through a step-by-step science-based process that will make sure all horses test negative before the Hold Orders will be lifted.”


With the lifting of Hold Orders on Barns 5 and 8 by MDA, the Maryland Jockey Club is removing its voluntary restrictions to movement of horses stabled at Pimlico. This action will allow horses, except those in Barns 6 and A to travel to Laurel to race.


In other good news, all 22 of the lead ponies working at Laurel, none of which had shown clinical signs of the virus, were tested proactively.  All of the ponies tested negative.
Monday morning MDA took nasal swabs on the horses in Barn 6 to determine if the virus is present in their nasal secretions and plans on doing the same in Barn A on Thursday.


There have been no new cases of equine herpesvirus at Pimlico since Jan.19 or at Laurel since Jan. 26.  The most recent onset of clinical EHV signs at the Kent County farm was on February 2.  That horse was euthanized on Feb. 5. 


A total of eight horses on the farm have been affected by EHV-1: two horses have been euthanized; four have had fevers at some point during the course of events but are no longer febrile; the remaining two horses are currently showing neurologic signs - one has made an almost full recovery and another is improving.  Initial PCR tests on all clinically affected horses were positive for EHV-1. EHV-1 has only been confirmed on the horse euthanized on Jan. 26. Confirmatory test results on the others remain outstanding. The farm has been under a Hold Order since Jan. 26.  The Hold Order will remain in place for 21 days after the last signs of infection are gone. 


“This is a good time remind everyone to maintain their preventative - or biosecurity - measures to keep their animals healthy now and throughout the year,” said Hohenhaus.  “Let’s use this unfortunate outbreak as a lesson to improve our everyday practices on the track, at horse events, and on our farms.  The main things to remember to prevent or control animal illness are: look for signs, report illness, and practice biosecurity.”


Equine herpesvirus-1 (also known as Rhinopneumonitis), which causes upper respiratory infection, can also cause neurological signs.  Among the first signs of the illness are unexplained fever and mild to severe ataxia or unsteady balance. There is currently no known method to reliably prevent the neurologic form of EHV-1 infection.  It is recommended to maintain appropriate vaccination procedures in an attempt to reduce the incidence of the respiratory form of EHV-1 infection, which may help prevent the neurologic form. Transmission of the virus can occur via coughing or sneezing over a distance of up to 35 feet as well as by direct contact with infected horses, feed and equipment.  There is no reason to believe that there is any human health risk.


Biosecurity information for stable operators, horse shippers, and for animal owners as a whole, as well as information about equine herpesvirus is available on line at www.mda.state.md.us or by calling MDA at 410-841-5810.

2-06-06 - Kent County Equine Herpesvirus Update: Second Horse Euthanized on Kent County Farm          
ANNAPOLIS, MD (Feb. 7, 2006) - A competitive eventing horse that began showing signs of equineherpes virus (EHV-1) last Thursday was euthanized on Sunday after a rapid decline in health and no signs of recovery. The horse is the second to be euthanized on a private Kent County farm that received a horse from Pimlico Race Course on Jan. 10 before track officials closed movement to and from the facility. The Maryland Department of Agriculture placed the first of a series of "Hold Orders" on affected barns at Pimlico and Laurel on Jan. 5.

The Kent County farm is primarily a boarding and training operation for sport horses, not race horses, and is not affiliated with any race track. The Maryland State Veterinarian placed a "Hold Order" on the farm on Jan. 26. The Hold Order will remain in effect for 21 days after the onset of the most recent confirmed case. There has been no movement of horses on or off the farm since the hold order was put in place and there are no other reported cases in Kent County or any other off-track location in Maryland.

According to the attending veterinarian, a total of 8 horses on the farm have been affected by EHV-1: two horses have been euthanized; four have had fevers at some point during the course of events but are no longer febrile; the remaining two horses are currently showing various neurologic signs - one has made an almost full recovery and another is improving. Initial PCR tests on all clinically affected horses were positive for EHV-1. Equine herpesvirus-1 (also known as Rhinopneumonitis), which causes upper respiratory infection, can also cause neurological signs. Among the firstsigns of the illness are unexplained fever and mild to severe ataxia or unsteady balance. There is currently no known method to reliably prevent the neurologic form of EHV-1 infection. It is recommended to maintain appropriate vaccination procedures in an attempt to reduce the incidence of the respiratory form of EHV-1 infection, which may help prevent the neurologic form. Transmission of the virus can occur via coughing or sneezing over a distance of up to 35 feet as well as by direct contact with infected horses, feed and equipment. There is no reason to believe that there is any human health risk. Owners of horses and other animals should always watch for signs of illness, call their veterinarian immediately if any signs are observed and implement strong preventative - or biosecurity - practices. Private veterinarians with questions or horses with signs they believe may be consistent with equine herpesvirus are asked to call the Maryland Department of Agriculture Animal Health office during business hours at 410-841-5810. Updates will be posted daily on the MDA website, www.mda.state.md.us. Additional research and veterinary information about EHV are also posted on that page. ###

Attachment: Bio-Security Information for Stable Operators
BIO-SECURITY INFORMATION FOR STABLE OPERATORS
*Look for signs; Report Illness; Practice Biosecurity.

2-05-06 - The Maryland Department of Agriculture will officially lift the seven-day “Investigational Hold Order” on Barn 1 at the Bowie Training Center Sunday morning (6:00 a.m.) allowing Chris Grove to train his horses. Grove has one starter scheduled to run on the Feb 8 card at Laurel Park and entered multiple runners for the Feb 9 program

 


Equine Herpesvirus Update on Kent County Farm
ANNAPOLIS, MD (Feb. 3, 2006) -

 

Test results on the horse euthanized last week on a private Kent County farm confirm that the horse was infected with equine herpesvirus (EHV-1). One horse on the farm which was exhibiting neurologic signs appears to be improving and moving toward an anticipated full recovery. One additional horse, which had a fever is now exhibiting neurologic signs for which he is being treated. Initial PCR tests on all clinically affected horses were positive for EHV-1


The farm received a horse from Pimlico Race Course on January 10 before track officials closed movement to and from the facility. The Kent County farm is primarily a boarding and training operation for sport horses, not race horses, and is not affiliated with any race track. The Maryland State Veterinarian placed a "Hold Order" on the farm on January 26. The Hold Order will remain in effect for 21 days after the onset of the most recent confirmed case. There has been no movement of horses on or off the farm and there are no other reported cases in Kent County or any other off-track location in Maryland.


Equine herpesvirus-1 (also known as Rhinopneumonitis), which causes upper respiratory infection, can also cause neurological signs. Among the first signs of the illness are unexplained fever and mild to severe ataxia or unsteady balance. There is currently no known method to reliably prevent the neurologic form of EHV-1 infection. It is recommended to maintain appropriate vaccination procedures in an attempt to reduce the incidence of the respiratory form of EHV-1 infection, which may help prevent the neurologic form. Transmission of the virus can occur via coughing or sneezing over a distance of up to 35 feet as well as by direct contact with infected horses, feed and equipment. There is no reason to believe that there is any human health risk.


Private veterinarians with questions or horses with signs they believe may be consistent with equine herpesvirus are asked to call the Maryland Department of Agriculture Animal Health office during business hours at 410-841-5810.


Updates will be posted on the MDA website, www.mda.state.md.us. Additional research and veterinary information about EHV are also posted on that page.
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Note: The name and location of the farm will not be released by the Maryland Department of Agriculture
.

 

Update on EHV situation on the Kent County Farm after the above news release went out: According to the attending veterinarian, a total of 8 horses on the farm have been affected by EHV-1: one horse was euthanized; four have had fevers at some point during the course of events but are no longer febrile; the remaining three horses are currently showing various neurologic signs - one of the three has made an almost full recovery, another is improving but is a long way from a full recovery, and the third became neurologic this morning.

 

Feb 01, 2006
Investigational Hold Order Placed on Bowie Barn

LAUREL, MD (Feb. 1, 2006) – The Maryland Department of Agriculture placed an initial "Investigational Animal Hold Order" on Barn 1 at the Bowie Training Center this afternoon after a horse showed symptoms of equine herpesvirus (EHV-1). Equine herpesvirus-1 (also known as "rhino"), which causes upper respiratory infection, can also cause neurological disease.


The horse, trained by Chris Grove, had lameness after it last raced then began showing neurologic signs late last week. After discussions with his private veterinarian, the trainer decided to relocate his horse to an empty barn behind the Bowie grandstand as a precautionary measure. Grove indicated his horse was feeling energetic, "bucking and kicking" when he walked his horse to the isolated barn.


Blood samples and nasal swabs were taken on the horse Wednesday afternoon. Results should be available early next week. Until then none of the 29 horses in Grove's barn will be allowed to race at Laurel Park. Grove has elected not to train any of his horses until the results of the tests are revealed.


Four horses have been euthanized at the major Maryland tracks this year, three at Pimlico Race Course and one at Laurel Park . Another horse was put down last week at a Kent County farm.


Eight horses remain isolated in the Pimlico Detention Barn suffering from various levels of the virus. Barns 5, 6, and A at Pimlico remain under state hold orders. The Maryland Jockey Club proactively placed the historic Baltimore oval on quarantine on Jan 21, restricting the movement of horses. There have been no new cases of EHV-1 at Pimlico since Jan 19.


At Laurel Park where live racing is being conducted, Barn 9 is also under a Hold Order. Rodney Jenkins, whose horses are stabled in that barn, will train the 35 horses he conditions inside the barn until the restrictions are lifted.


“Conditions at Pimlico and Laurel continue to progress in a positive manner,” said Maryland State Veterinarian Guy Hohenhaus. “Today’s news at Bowie does not change our plans to try to clear Barn 5 at Pimlico next week after test results are returned.”
There is currently no known method to reliably prevent the neurologic form of EHV-1 infection. It is recommended to maintain appropriate vaccination procedures in an attempt to reduce the incidence of the respiratory form of EHV-1 infection, which may help prevent the neurologic form. Transmission of the virus can occur via coughing or sneezing over a distance of up to 35 feet as well as by direct contact with infected horses, feed and equipment. Based on clinical signs, there is no reason to believe that there is any human health risk.

 

Jan 31, 2006
Laurel Park Horse Tests Positive For Equine Herpes

LAUREL, MD. 01-31-06---The Maryland Department of Agriculture confirmed today that Hey Ralphy, a filly trained by Rodney Jenkins at Laurel Park, was infected by equine herpesvirus (EHV-1). The three-year-old was euthanized Jan 26 with a suspected pelvic injury. A Hold Order has been placed on Barn 9 at the central Maryland track. Jenkins has elected not to train any of his horses until the Hold Order ends.


"We are working cooperatively with all involved parties using the most up-to-date science and respected practices, and going beyond what has been done in previous EHV incidents around the country, to manage this situation," said Maryland State Veterinarian, Dr. Guy Hohenhaus. "We urge everyone's patience and diligence in continuing strong preventive measures such as keeping new horses separate from others for a period of time, disinfecting, and keeping vaccinations up to date. It is a matter of time and continued proper management to bring this outbreak to conclusion."


Three horses have been euthanized at Pimlico Race Course, Laurel's sister track, this month, where the outbreak was first discovered. Another horse, so far unlinked with the Barn 5 and 6 incidents, was put down last week at a Kent County farm. Equine herpesvirus-1 (also known as "rhino"), which causes upper respiratory infection, can also cause neurological disease.


Eight horses remain isolated in the Pimlico Detention Barn suffering from various levels of the virus. The Maryland Jockey Club proactively placed the historic Baltimore oval on quarantine on Jan 21, restricting the movement of horses. There have been no new cases on of EHV-1 at Pimlico since Jan 19. 


"Today's news is disappointing but we still think we see the light at the end of the tunnel," said Lou Raffetto, Chief Operating Officer for the Maryland Jockey Club. “We had hoped we would have this situation under control by February 9, which essentially would have been one month since the first case at Pimlico. We are now going to have to wait and monitor the situation here at Laurel. We have already put the proper precautions into place to control the situation.


Three barns at Pimlico remain under Hold Orders. The Department of Agriculture revealed this morning that it cannot lift the Hold Order on Barn 5 at Pimlico because one horse still tested positive for the virus on a nasal swab sample, despite not showing symptoms. Additional tests are being run. The barn was eligible to come off the Hold Order yesterday afternoon. The Hold Order on Barn 6 is scheduled to be removed this Sunday, Feb 5 if all tests are negative. The Hold Order on Barn A could be cleared Thursday, Feb 9.


"Progress is being made and there is strong reason to maintain a positive outlook," added Hohenhaus. "It is just not going as quickly as anyone would like."


Last week Raffetto decided not to card live racing on Sunday, Jan 29 and Sunday, Feb 5, two days which had previously been scheduled for racing on the Laurel winter calendar, due to a shortage of entries, stemming from a quarantine of 500 horses at Pimlico and restrictions on the movement of Thoroughbreds in and out of the state due to the outbreak of EHV-1. 


Laurel Park will also move a pair of Grade II sprints presently scheduled for Presidents' Weekend. The $300,000 Barbara Fritchie Breeders' Cup Handicap (February 18) and $300,000 General George Breeders' Cup Handicap, (February 20), are the marquee races of the Laurel winter meeting. It is expected that a final decision on when those races will be conducted will be made within the next two weeks.


There is currently no known method to reliably prevent the neurologic form of EHV-1 infection. It is recommended to maintain appropriate vaccination procedures in an attempt to reduce the incidence of the respiratory form of EHV-1 infection, which may help prevent the neurologic form. Transmission of the virus can occur via coughing or sneezing over a distance of up to 35 feet as well as by direct contact with infected horses, feed and equipment. Based on clinical signs, there is no reason to believe that there is any human health risk.
 

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Jan 26, 2006
Suspected Equine Herpesvirus Causes “Hold Order” on Kent County Stable

ANNAPOLIS, MD (Jan. 26, 2006)

Suspected cases of equine herpesvirus (EHV-1) have caused the Maryland State Veterinarian to place an “Investigational Animal Hold Order” today on a private farm in Kent County. The farm, which has no official relationship to the racing industry, occasionally boards and trains horses for a Pimlico-based trainer.  The farm received a horse from that Pimlico on January 10 before track officials closed movement to and from the facility.  The Maryland Department of Agriculture is waiting for test results, which are expected next week, to determine the cause of illness for one horse euthanized this morning and another showing neurologic signs.


"This new occurrence is extremely unfortunate and we are working closely with everyone involved and using the best science available in the equine research community to prevent any possible spread of illness,” said Maryland State Veterinarian, Guy Hohenhaus. "It is believed that this incident is not a distinctly new case.  We encourage horse owners with concerns to contact their private veterinarian to determine if a vaccination or booster is recommended for their horses at this time."


Equine herpesvirus-1 (also known as "rhino"), which causes upper respiratory infection, can also cause neurological signs.  Among the first signs of the illness are unexplained fever and mild to severe ataxia or unsteady balance.  There is currently no known method to reliably prevent the neurologic form of EHV-1 infection.  It is recommended to maintain appropriate vaccination procedures in an attempt to reduce the incidence of the respiratory form of EHV-1 infection, which may help prevent the neurologic form. Transmission of the virus can occur via coughing or sneezing over a distance of up to 35 feet as well as by direct contact with infected horses, feed and equipment.  There is no reason to believe that there is any human health risk.


The name and location of the farm will not be released as it is a private farm. The owners and management are aware of what activities have taken place on the farm and are fully cooperating with officials to prevent the possibility of spread.  Private veterinarians with questions or horses with signs they believe may be consistent with equine herpesvirus are asked to call the Maryland Department of Agriculture Animal Health office during business hours at 410-841-5810. 


Updates will be posted daily on the MDA website, www.mda.state.md.us.


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Jan 19, 2006
Third Barn at Pimlico is Isolated due to Suspected Case of Equine HerpesvirusBaltimore, 01-19-06---

The Maryland Department of Agriculture has placed an "Investigational Animal Hold Order" on Barn A at Pimlico Race Course after a horse showed signs of equine herpesvirus (EHV-1) this morning. Barns 5 and 6 at the historic Baltimore track are also under a Hold Order. The third Hold Order affects horses trained by Joseph Delozier, Steven Hinds, Ellis Pruce and Casey Randall. Equine herpesvirus-1 (also known as “rhino”), which causes upper respiratory infection, can also cause neurological disease.


"The finding today of a horse with signs consistent with equine herpesvirus in Barn A comes as a surprise to us and is very disappointing," said Maryland State Veterinarian, Dr. Guy Hohenhaus. "While there is no way to know if this suspected new case is connected with the others, we are looking into any possible relationship between them to find and close any gaps that might allow for transmission."


On January 2 News Reporter, a gelding trained by Charles Frock in Barn 5 was euthanized. Tests confirmed he was carrying the herpes virus. Kalli Calling, a three-year-old filly conditioned by Simon Purdy in Barn 6, was euthanized on January 13. The Department of Agriculture expects to receive test results either Friday or Monday on whether she had the virus.


On January 6, Pimlico officials isolated horses showing signs of the virus into the Detention Barn (Barn 8) and put a Hold Order on Barn 5 as a precautionary measure. A total of six horses from the barn were sent to the isolation barn. All six tested positive for Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test, a screening test looking for direct evidence of the virus in the blood. It has been 10 days since a horse in the barn has shown signs of the virus.


"We applaud the conscientious efforts of everyone at the track for their efforts to contain this incident," continued Hohenhaus.  "Based on the current situation in Barns 5 and 6, we believe that the preventive actions in place are working and we continue to try to bring closure to this difficult situation just as soon as possible."


On January 13, a Hold Order was put on Barn 6 after Kalli Calling was euthanized. Two horses from Barn 6 have been moved to Barn 8 after coming down with high fevers but have not had signs of neurologic disease.


The nearly 115 horses affected by the Hold Order are allowed to train from 10-11:30 a.m. The other 400 horses based at Pimlico train from 5:30-9:30 a.m. Horses from farms are not allowed to ship into Pimlico to work. Trainers can ship to Laurel Park or the Bowie Training Center. 


Live racing is currently being conducted at Pimlico’s sister track, Laurel Park. The Pimlico spring meeting begins in mid-April.


There is currently no known method to reliably prevent the neurologic form of EHV-1 infection.  It is recommended to maintain appropriate vaccination procedures in an attempt to reduce the incidence of the respiratory form of EHV-1 infection, which may help prevent the neurologic form. Transmission of the virus can occur via coughing or sneezing over a distance of up to 35 feet as well as by direct contact with infected horses, feed and equipment. Based on clinical signs, there is no reason to believe that there is any human health risk.


Turfway Park, Churchill Downs, Prairie Meadows, Calder Race Course and The Meadows all had cases of EHV-1 in 2005.
  

Jan 13, 2006
Second Horse Euthanized at Pimlico Due to Suspected Case of Equine HerpesVirus

ANNAPOLIS, MD (Jan. 13, 2006)

A second suspected case of equine herpesvirus (EHV-1) at Pimlico Race Course has caused officials from the Maryland Department of Agriculture to place a “Hold Order” on Barn 6. Equine herpesvirus-1 (also known as “rhino”), which causes upper respiratory infection, can also cause neurological disease. A horse in that barn was euthanized this morning after showing neurological signs, 11 days after News Reporter, a gelding stabled in Barn 5, was euthanized. Tests released Tuesday confirmed that News Reporter was carrying the herpes virus.
 
"This morning in Barn 6 one horse who had been previously healthy became very sick and demonstrated neurologic signs to a point where it was unable to rise even with assistance," said Maryland State Veterinarian, Guy Hohenhaus. "The owners opted, after discussions with their veterinarians, to euthanize the animal and submit it for postmortem examination at the College Park laboratory."


The second Hold Order affects horses trained by Simon Purdy, Crystal Pickett, Henry Walters, Judith DiNatale, Joseph Ayres, Sr. and Joseph Ayres, Jr . Horses conditioned by those trainers are not allowed to race until further notice. The 43 horses in the barn will be allowed to train from 10-11 a.m.


One week ago, Pimlico officials isolated horses showing signs of the virus into the Detention Barn (Barn 8) and put a Hold Order on Barn 5 at the Baltimore track as a precautionary measure. Six horses are currently in isolation.


This morning the Department of Agriculture received test results on five of the six horses currently in isolation. The five all tested positive for Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test, a screening test looking for direct evidence of the virus in the blood. Results on the sixth horse, who began a fever Monday afternoon, will be available next week. That horse and another in the Detention Barn have not had signs of neurologic disease.


"This means we are still dealing with an active herpes outbreak but all the animals in Barn 8 have all shown improvement," added Hohenhaus. "Things have also stabilized in Barn 5 where we have not had a sick animal since Monday."


The first Hold Order affects the barn that houses horses trained by Charles Frock, William Christmas, Robert Gamber, Hassan Elamri and David Mohan. Horses conditioned by those trainers are not allowed to race until further notice. The 40 horses have been allowed to train from 10-11 a.m.


The other 450 horses based at Pimlico will continue to train from 5:30-9:30 a.m. Beginning Jan 14, horses from farms will not be allowed to ship into the Preakness Way portion of Pimlico to work. Trainers can use the Rogers Avenue side of Pimlico or ship to Laurel Park or the Bowie Training Center. 


Live racing is currently being conducted at Pimlico’s sister track, Laurel Park. The Pimlico spring meeting begins in mid-April.


There is currently no known method to reliably prevent the neurologic form of EHV-1 infection.  It is recommended to maintain appropriate vaccination procedures in an attempt to reduce the incidence of the respiratory form of EHV-1 infection, which may help prevent the neurologic form. Transmission of the virus can occur via coughing or sneezing over a distance of up to 35 feet as well as by direct contact with infected horses, feed and equipment.  Based on clinical signs, there is no reason to believe that there is any human health risk.
Turfway Park, Churchill Downs, Prairie Meadows, Calder Race Course and The Meadows all had cases of EHV-1 in 2005.

 

Jan 10, 2006
Pimlico Equine Herpesvirus Update Baltimore, MD (Jan. 10, 2006) - 

The Maryland Department of Agriculture confirmed today that the preliminary lab report on News Reporter proved the five-year-old gelding was infected by equine herpesvirus (EHV-1). The Charles Frock trainee was euthanized Jan 2. Equine herpesvirus-1 (also known as "rhino"), which causes upper respiratory infection, can also cause neurological disease.


"The result of the diagnostic performed suggested that the horse had mounted an extremely strong and recent immune response to the herpes virus, which is very good evidence that we are dealing with a current infection and more specifically a neurologic disease," said Maryland State Veterinarian, Guy Hohenhaus. "This result was very consistent with what we expected. This confirms what we and the veterinarians treating these animals have been suspecting for several days."


Since last Friday, Pimlico Race Course officials have isolated horses in the Detention Barn and put a Hold Order on Barn 5 at the Baltimore track as a precautionary measure. Six horses are currently in isolation, including four who are experiencing neurological signs.


The Hold Order affects the barn that houses horses trained by Frock, William Christmas, Robert Gamber, Hassan Elamri and David Mohan. Horses conditioned by those trainers are not allowed to race until further notice. The 40 horses remaining in the barn are training from 10-11 a.m. The other 500 horses based at Pimlico are training from 5:30-9:30 a.m.  Live racing is currently being conducted at Pimlico's sister track, Laurel Park. The Pimlico spring meeting begins in mid-April.


"This outbreak is behaving like you would suspect a herpes outbreak to behave. It is very similar to other outbreaks we have seen at similar facilities over the last several years in that over a period of several days you have several new horses spiking fevers or showing neurological signs," added Hohenhaus. "We are taking all the necessary precautionary measures to contain the animals showing signs of suspected illness and have the full cooperation of all parties involved."
The Maryland Department of Agriculture expects test results back Friday, Jan 13.
 
There is currently no known method to reliably prevent the neurologic form of EHV-1 infection. It is recommended to maintain appropriate vaccination procedures in an attempt to reduce the incidence of the respiratory form of EHV-1 infection, which may help prevent the neurologic form. Transmission of the virus can occur via coughing or sneezing over a distance of up to 35 feet as well as by direct contact with infected horses, feed and equipment.


The Maryland Department of Agriculture placed an initial "Investigational Animal Hold Order” on Jan 5. Even before that time, Maryland Jockey Club officials ensured that no non-resident horses came in contact with the affected horses or the barn in which they are housed. Based on clinical signs, there is no reason to believe that there is any human health risk.
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Jan 06, 2006
Five Horses Isolated at Pimlico Due to Suspected Case of Equine Herpesvirus

ANNAPOLIS, MD (Jan. 6, 2006)

A suspected case of equine herpesvirus (EHV-1) has caused Pimlico Race Course and state animal health officials to isolate five horses in the Detention Barn and put a Hold Order on Barn 5 at the Baltimore track as a precautionary measure. The Maryland Department of Agriculture is awaiting results of tests to determine if a horse, stabled in the barn and euthanized earlier this week, was infected.


Equine herpesvirus-1 (also known as "rhino"), which causes upper respiratory infection, can also cause neurological signs, which three other horses in Barn 5 have experienced.


The Hold Order affects the barn that houses horses trained by William Christmas, Charles Frock, Robert Gamber, Hassan Elamri and David Mohan. Horses conditioned by those trainers are not allowed to race until further notice. Beginning tomorrow the 40 horses remaining in the barn will be allowed to train from 10-11 a.m. The remaining 500 horses based at Pimlico will train from 5:30-9:30 a.m.


Live racing is currently being conducted at Pimlico's sister track, Laurel Park. The Pimlico spring meeting begins in mid-April.
There is currently no known method to reliably prevent the neurologic form of EHV-1 infection.  It is recommended to maintain appropriate vaccination procedures in an attempt to reduce the incidence of the respiratory form of EHV-1 infection, which may help prevent the neurologic form. Transmission of the virus can occur via coughing or sneezing over a distance of up to 35 feet as well as by direct contact with infected horses, feed and equipment.


The Maryland Department of Agriculture placed an "Investigational Animal Hold Order" on January 5. Even before that time, Maryland Jockey Club officials ensured that no non-resident horses came in contact with the affected horses or the barn in which they are housed. Based on clinical signs, there is no reason to believe that there is any human health risk.


"The Hold Order, which restricts the movement of horses to and from the affected barn, is a precautionary measure to prevent any possible spread of illness among horses while we wait for diagnostic test results," said Maryland State Veterinarian, Guy Hohenhaus. "We are working with the track management keep the healthy horses in training while protecting the health of all other horses at the facility. They are athletes and need stay in their routine as long as the investigation permits."


Turfway Park, Churchill Downs, Prairie Meadows, Calder Race Course and The Meadows all had cases of EHV-1 in 2005. 
Maryland Jockey Club racing secretary Georganne Hale and Dr. David Zipf, the veterinarian for the Maryland Racing Commission will be available to the press at 3:00 this afternoon in the Laurel Park racing office. Media members are asked to contact Mike Gathagan if they are going to attending the briefing. Camera crews will not be allowed into the stable area at Pimlico until further notice.

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Maryland Jockey Club Releases

FINAL FOUR HORSES TEST NEGATIVE FOR EQUINE HERPESVIRUS
LAUREL, MD. 03-08-06-
--The Maryland Department of Agriculture has lifted the "General Animal Hold Orders" on the Detention Barn at Pimlico Race Course and an isolated barn at the Bowie Training Center after the final four horses in those barns tested negative for equine herpesvirus (EHV-1) on nested PCR tests. The four are free to be moved back to their original barns to resume normal activities.

"These negative tests bring this EHV-1 outbreak to official closure in Maryland as all hold orders have been lifted and there are no reported signs of the virus anywhere in the state," said State Veterinarian Guy Hohenhaus. "This is good news for all of Maryland's horse owners and related businesses. We thank all parties involved for their patience and diligence in stopping the spread of the virus. While this event is now over, we remind all horse owners that a robust vaccination program is important and to consult with their private veterinarian on which vaccines are most appropriate for a particular horse and its activities."


EHV-1, which causes upper respiratory infection and can also cause neurological disease, hit Pimlico Race Course in January as three different horses from three separate barns at the legendary Baltimore track were euthanized. The Maryland Jockey Club placed Pimlico on quarantine for an 18-day period, restricting movement to and from the facility for the 500 horses based there. Two horses still had not cleared the testing process as of last week and were prohibited from mixing with the general horse population. After more than two months of quarantine and isolation, all horses in the affected barns have tested negative.


At Laurel Park, where 900 horses are stabled, Barn 9 was on a Hold Order for more than a month after a filly was euthanized January 26. Last Thursday, after five weeks of quarantine, 34 of the 36 horses based in the barn cleared the testing process. Trainer Rodney Jenkins relocated the other two to the Bowie Training Center until they tested negative. Negative results on those two were returned today.

There have been no outbreaks at Bowie where approximately 600 horses are stabled.
The virus caused Maryland Jockey Club officials to cancel three days of live racing and the 2006 runnings of the Grade II Barbara Fritchie Breeders’ Cup Handicap and the Grade II General George Breeders’ Cup Handicap, the marquee races of the Laurel Park winter meeting because of the situation in the state which has caused restrictions on movement of horses into Maryland.


“It has been a two-month process, one in which we learned a great deal about this virus,” said Lou Raffetto, Maryland Jockey Club President and Chief Operating Officer. “We hope this knowledge will help us in the future should they occur. We are relieved to have the situation behind us. I would think this would act as a catalyst to open the borders of the surrounding states but those decisions will have to be made by the veterinarian in those jurisdictions. There is a great deal of uncertainty out there as it relates to the equine herpesvirus. The protocol about how to handle the virus seems to change from year-to-year as more is learned and we hope our situation helps to improve the understanding of EHV-1. Guy Hohenhaus and his staff have been outstanding. They have dealt with very tough questions in a professional manner. I would have to give them a 10 on a scale of 1-10 for cooperation.

 

LATE UPDATE ON EQUINE HERPES SITUATION AT LAUREL PARK - 03-02-06
Trainer Rodney Jenkins, who conditions all the horses stabled in Barn 9 at Laurel Park, has elected to relocate the two horses which did not clear the testing process to an isolated barn on the grandstand side of the Bowie Training Center, pending negative test results. The two will be re-tested at Laurel Park before being shipped to Bowie.
 
Friday morning the Maryland Department of Agriculture will lift the “General Animal Hold Order” on Barn 9 allowing the 34 horses to resume normal activities. The Jenkins horses will be eligible to run Wednesday, March 8 (racing office takes entries for that card Friday).

THIRTY-FOUR HORSES TEST NEGATIVE FOR EHV-1 IN LAUREL PARK BARN
LAUREL, MD. 03-02-06---
The Maryland Department of Agriculture has extended the “General Animal Hold Order” on Barn 9 at Laurel Park after two of the 36 horses in the barn did not clear the testing process for equine herpesvirus (EHV-1), though neither is showing symptoms of the virus. The Department of Agriculture will re-test the entire barn Friday morning. A filly stabled in the barn was euthanized January 26.


Meanwhile at Pimlico Race Course, four of the six horses in the Detention Barn tested negative for the virus in both blood samples and nasal swab tests and have been moved back to their original barns to resume normal activities. The two which did not clear are not showing symptoms of EHV-1 but are prohibited from mixing with the general horse population until they test negative.
 
Last month, the Department Of Agriculture lifted the Hold Orders on Barns 5, 6 and A at Pimlico while the Maryland Jockey Club lifted its self-imposed quarantine, allowing horses from the legendary Baltimore track to compete at Laurel. Three horses from three different Pimlico barns were euthanized in January. The last clinical case of the virus at Pimlico happened January 19. 
There have been no outbreaks at the Bowie Training Center where approximately 600 horses are stabled. 
Equine herpesvirus causes upper respiratory infection and can also cause neurological disease. There is currently no known method to reliably prevent the neurologic form of EHV-1 infection. 

 

Quarantine Lifted on Pimlico Race Course; Twelve Horses Compete at Laurel Park on Wednesday

LAUREL, MD. 02-08-06---The Maryland Jockey Club lifted its self-imposed quarantine on Pimlico Race Course this morning, allowing horses from the legendary Baltimore track to compete at Laurel Park for the first time since January 21. Twelve Pimlico-based horses ran on Wednesday’s card (after two were morning scratches). Five of the nine races featured Pimlico horses.  


The Maryland Jockey Club placed Pimlico on quarantine on January 21, closing movement to and from the facility for the 500 horses based there, due to the outbreak of equine herpesvirus (EHV-1). EHV-1 causes upper respiratory infection and can also cause neurological disease. 


“It is a good day and as we have said all along we are headed in the right direction,” said Lou Raffetto, Maryland Jockey Club Chief Operating Officer. “Today is the first indication of that with the Pimlico horses racing for us here at Laurel.” 


The Pimlico horses more than held their own with three wins and seven in the money finishes. Martin Venberg saddled Eagle Head ($26.40) to an impressive wire-to-wire score in the seventh race. Top of the Town, conditioned by Ann Merryman at Old Hilltop, completed a $349.60 all Pimlico exacta. One race later Tarlet ($3.80) was a popular winner for trainer Ronald Alfano. Cherished Memory ($7.60) made it three straight by taking the finale. Bing an a Prayer (Race 3) and Sporty Ryan (Race 4) had second place finishes, while Abby’s Sister was third in the ninth. 


“Today is a very exciting day for us,” said trainer Raul Garrido, who saddled a pair of Pimlico-based starters this afternoon. “We have been waiting to run for nearly three weeks. When you don’t run there is no income. Today is like a birthday party. Everybody is happy to be able to run again.”  


Three horses from three different Pimlico barns were euthanized last month. Yesterday the Maryland Department of Agriculture lifted the “General Animal Hold Order” on Barns 5 and 8 at Pimlico when all of the 43 horses in those barns tested negative for the virus. Two other barns remain under Hold Orders. Monday morning at Pimlico, the Department Of Agriculture took nasal swabs on the horses stabled in Barn 6 to determine if the virus is present in their nasal secretions and plans on doing the same in Barn A tomorrow.  The last clinical case of the virus at Pimlico happened Thursday, Jan 19.
“We hope to have the remaining two barns at Pimlico released in the coming days and would like to get back to business as usual by the Presidents’ day weekend,” Raffetto added.
At Laurel Park Barn 9 is under a Hold Order through Thursday, Feb 16. A filly was euthanized Jan 26. Since then none of the more than 900 horses stabled at Laurel have shown symptoms of the virus.


There have been no outbreaks at Bowie where approximately 600 horses are stabled.


There is currently no known method to reliably prevent the neurologic form of EHV-1 infection.  It is recommended to maintain appropriate vaccination procedures in an attempt to reduce the incidence of the respiratory form of EHV-1 infection, which may help prevent the neurologic form. Transmission of the virus can occur via coughing or sneezing over a distance of up to 35 feet as well as by direct contact with infected horses, feed and equipment. Based on clinical signs, there is no reason to believe that there is any human health risk.


MJC ANNOUNCES RESCHEDULED DATES FOR GRADED STAKES 

Officials of the Maryland Jockey Club today announced new 2006 dates for the Grade II Barbara Fritchie Breeders’ Cup Handicap and the Grade II General George Breeders’ Cup Handicap, the marquee races of the Laurel Park winter meeting. 


Originally carded for President’s Day weekend, both $300,000 races were postponed because of the equine herpes virus situation in the state and restrictions on movement of horses into Maryland. 


The Fritchie, a seven furlong test for fillies and mares originally scheduled for February 18, will be contested on Saturday, March 4. The General George, also a seven furlong test on the main track scheduled to run two days after the Fritchie, will go on Saturday, March 18. 


Nominations for both sprints will also be pushed back. Deadlines for the Fritchie will now be February 22, while trainers have until March 8 to pre-enter horses for the General George. Stakes Coordinator Wendy Pensivy has already received several nominations for the Fritc
hie, including multiple stakes winners Trickle of Gold and Promenade Girl as well as Josh’s Madelyn, who finished fourth in the race a year ago. 


Laurel Park stakes which were originally carded for those dates will be run as scheduled. The Horatius Stakes will go on March 4. The Harrison Johnson Stakes is set for March 18. 


LAUREL PARK CANCELS SUNDAY’S CARD
 
The Maryland Jockey Club announced Wednesday it will not card live racing this Sunday, February 12 due to a shortage of available horses. It will be the third consecutive weekend that Sunday racing has been canceled because of the equine herpes breakout in the state. 


“While we are happy to have removed the general quarantine at Pimlico and to have had two barns released by the Department of Agriculture, we are still facing restrictions from states outside of Maryland and the Fair Hill Training Center in the state making it difficult to fill cards,” said Lou Raffetto, Maryland Jockey Club Chief Operating Officer. “Additionally we are racing six consecutive days next week from Wednesday through the President’s Day holiday and need to make sure those programs have the quality and quantity our fans have come to expect.”

Feb 07, 2006
Pimlico Horses Test Negative for Equine Herpesvirus

Hold Orders on Barns 5 and 8 Lifted
BALTIMORE, MD (Feb. 7, 2005) -  All 43 of horses in Barn 5 and Barn 8 at Pimlico Race Course have tested negative for equine herpesvirus on both Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) and virus isolation tests, allowing the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) to lift Hold Orders on those two barns.  This will let horses in those barns begin training with the rest of the horse population at the track.  Horses in Barn 5 have been prohibited from mixing with the general horse population since MDA’s State Veterinarian placed a Hold Order on the barn on January 6.  The eight horses in Barn 8, which are those that showed clinical signs of EHV-1, have been in total isolation from the rest of the horse population at the track. Hold Orders on Pimlico Barns 6 and A; Barn 9 at Laurel Park; and the Kent County Farm remain in place.


“After 31 days we have some truly positive news at Pimlico and feel that we are turning the corner there,” said State Veterinarian Guy Hohenhaus. “We continue to work with all involved at Pimlico, Laurel and on the Kent County farm to bring these incidents to conclusion. It will take time and continued diligence and patience as we work through a step-by-step science-based process that will make sure all horses test negative before the Hold Orders will be lifted.”


With the lifting of Hold Orders on Barns 5 and 8 by MDA, the Maryland Jockey Club is removing its voluntary restrictions to movement of horses stabled at Pimlico. This action will allow horses, except those in Barns 6 and A to travel to Laurel to race.


In other good news, all 22 of the lead ponies working at Laurel, none of which had shown clinical signs of the virus, were tested proactively.  All of the ponies tested negative.
Monday morning MDA took nasal swabs on the horses in Barn 6 to determine if the virus is present in their nasal secretions and plans on doing the same in Barn A on Thursday.


There have been no new cases of equine herpesvirus at Pimlico since Jan.19 or at Laurel since Jan. 26.  The most recent onset of clinical EHV signs at the Kent County farm was on February 2.  That horse was euthanized on Feb. 5. 


A total of eight horses on the farm have been affected by EHV-1: two horses have been euthanized; four have had fevers at some point during the course of events but are no longer febrile; the remaining two horses are currently showing neurologic signs - one has made an almost full recovery and another is improving.  Initial PCR tests on all clinically affected horses were positive for EHV-1. EHV-1 has only been confirmed on the horse euthanized on Jan. 26. Confirmatory test results on the others remain outstanding. The farm has been under a Hold Order since Jan. 26.  The Hold Order will remain in place for 21 days after the last signs of infection are gone. 


“This is a good time remind everyone to maintain their preventative - or biosecurity - measures to keep their animals healthy now and throughout the year,” said Hohenhaus.  “Let’s use this unfortunate outbreak as a lesson to improve our everyday practices on the track, at horse events, and on our farms.  The main things to remember to prevent or control animal illness are: look for signs, report illness, and practice biosecurity.”


Equine herpesvirus-1 (also known as Rhinopneumonitis), which causes upper respiratory infection, can also cause neurological signs.  Among the first signs of the illness are unexplained fever and mild to severe ataxia or unsteady balance. There is currently no known method to reliably prevent the neurologic form of EHV-1 infection.  It is recommended to maintain appropriate vaccination procedures in an attempt to reduce the incidence of the respiratory form of EHV-1 infection, which may help prevent the neurologic form. Transmission of the virus can occur via coughing or sneezing over a distance of up to 35 feet as well as by direct contact with infected horses, feed and equipment.  There is no reason to believe that there is any human health risk.


Biosecurity information for stable operators, horse shippers, and for animal owners as a whole, as well as information about equine herpesvirus is available on line at www.mda.state.md.us or by calling MDA at 410-841-5810.

 

 

Bowie Horse Tests Negative For Equine Herpesvirus
LAUREL, MD. 02-04-06---

Blood samples and nasal swabs confirmed the Bowie horse sent to isolation by trainer Chris Grove Wednesday does not have equine herpesvirus (EHV-1). The Maryland Department of Agriculture has not officially lifted the seven-day “Investigational Hold Order” on Barn 1 at the Bowie Training Center. Grove’s horses will not be allowed to train or race until that decision has been made.  


“Obviously we are delighted to hear that the suspicious case at Bowie was not the equine herpesvirus but apparently a case of EPM as we thought it may have been after learning of the horses background,” said Maryland Jockey Club Chief Operating Officer Lou Raffetto. “We look at this as one of the first breaks we’ve gotten since the outbreaks.” 
Raffetto plans to lift the quarantine on Pimlico Race Course effective next Wednesday, Feb 8, if there are no additional outbreaks at the legendary Baltimore track. Three horses in three different barns have been euthanized since Jan 2. The last clinical case of the virus at Pimlico happened Thursday, Jan 19. 


Anticipating the removal of the quarantine at Pimlico, the Laurel Park racing office took entries from Pimlico-based trainers yesterday for next Wednesday’s card. Eleven conditioners entered 14 horses for the nine-race program. The Maryland Jockey Club placed Pimlico on quarantine Jan 21, closing movement to and from the facility, due to the outbreak of equine herpesvirus. Another 15 horses are on the overnight from Pimlico for the Feb 9 card. The racing office will take entries for the Feb 10 program tomorrow. 


Equine herpesvirus-1 (also known as "rhino"), which causes upper respiratory infection, can also cause neurological disease.  There is currently no known method to reliably prevent the neurologic form of EHV-1 infection.  It is recommended to maintain appropriate vaccination procedures in an attempt to reduce the incidence of the respiratory form of EHV-1 infection, which may help prevent the neurologic form. Transmission of the virus can occur via coughing or sneezing over a distance of up to 35 feet as well as by direct contact with infected horses, feed and equipment. Based on clinical signs, there is no reason to believe that there is any human health risk.  


The Department Of Agriculture informed Maryland Jockey Club officials that it has placed 10-day extensions of the “General Animal Hold Order” on Barns 6 and 8 (the Detention Barn) at Pimlico to provide for a testing period for release. Each horse in those barns will have nasal swabs taken to determine if the virus is present in their nasal secretions. The Department of Agriculture tested Barn 5 this week and expects results back Monday, Feb 6 or Tuesday, Feb 7. Barn A at Pimlico is also under a “General Animal Hold Order”.  


At Laurel Park Barn 9 is under a “General Animal Hold Order” through Thursday, Feb 16. Hey Ralphy, a three-year-old filly trained by Rodney Jenkins was euthanized Jan 26. Since then none of the more than 900 horses stabled at Laurel have shown symptoms of EHV-1.


“There have been no outbreaks at Bowie and have had no additional outbreaks in more than a week here at Laurel,” added Raffetto. “We are prepared to lift the ban on the general horse population Wednesday at Pimlico. It has been more than two weeks since we have had an incident there. We believe we see the light at the end of the tunnel and we are moving closer to it with this result today.”


The Maryland Departmeent of Agriculture will officially lift the seven-day “Investigational Hold Order” on Barn 1 at the Bowie Training Center Sunday morning (6:00 a.m.) allowing Chris Grove to train his horses. Grove has one starter scheduled to run on the Feb 8 card at Laurel Park and entered multiple runners for the Feb 9 program.

 

Fourteen Pimlico Horses Enter For Wednesday's Laurel Park Card
LAUREL, MD. 02-03-06---

Anticipating the removal of the quarantine at Pimlico Race Course early next week, the Laurel Park racing office took entries from Pimlico-based trainers for next Wednesday’s card. Eleven conditioners entered 14 horses for the nine-race program. The Maryland Jockey Club placed Pimlico on quarantine Jan 21, closing movement to and from the facility, due to the outbreak of equine herpesvirus (EHV-1) at the legendary Baltimore track.  


“We have a bunch of happy trainers,” said Georganne Hale, Director of Racing/Racing Secretary for the Maryland Jockey Club. “They have been wanting to enter all week and were chomping at the bit. Five of the races will include horses from Pimlico. We had another 11 horses that couldn’t get on the overnight because the races didn’t fill. It is great to have them back.” 


Trainers from Barn 5, 6 and A at Pimlico are not allowed to run their horses until the Maryland Department of Agriculture lifts the Hold Orders. Earlier this week state veterinarians took nasal swabs from all the horses in Barn 5 and the eight horses in isolation in the Pimlico Detention Barn. Results are expected back Monday, Feb 6. 

 
The last clinical case of the virus in Barn 5 happened on Monday, Jan 9, one week after News Reporter was euthanized. The last horse moved to the Detention Barn was one stabled in Barn 6 who had a fever on the afternoon of Sunday, Jan 15. The last horse to show symptoms of the virus at Pimlico happened in Barn A on Thursday, Jan 19. 


“We are hopeful the situation at Pimlico is under control,” said Lou Raffetto, Chief Operating Officer for the Maryland Jockey Club. “We took the extra measures to extend the quarantine until the state was able to further test Barns 5 and 8 to determine if the virus was present in their nasal secretions.” 


Four horses have been euthanized at the major Maryland tracks this year, three at Pimlico Race Course and one at Laurel Park. Another horse was put down last week at a Kent County farm that tested positive for the virus.


At Laurel Park Barn 9 is under a Hold Order until Thursday, Feb 16.


A seven-day "Investigational Animal Hold Order" was placed on Barn 1 at the Bowie Training Center Wednesday afternoon, Feb 1 after a horse showed symptoms of EHV-1. Trainer Chris Grove voluntarily moved one of his horses to an isolated barn. Blood samples and nasal swabs are expected back next Monday or Tuesday. Grove is allowed to enter horses, pending tests results. The conditioner entered Should Be Fun in Wednesday’s fourth race. 


Equine herpesvirus-1 (also known as "rhino"), which causes upper respiratory infection, can also cause neurological disease.  There is currently no known method to reliably prevent the neurologic form of EHV-1 infection.  It is recommended to maintain appropriate vaccination procedures in an attempt to reduce the incidence of the respiratory form of EHV-1 infection, which may help prevent the neurologic form. Transmission of the virus can occur via coughing or sneezing over a distance of up to 35 feet as well as by direct contact with infected horses, feed and equipment. Based on clinical signs, there is no reason to believe that there is any human health risk.  


Yesterday Turfway Park in Kentucky ended all its restrictions placed as a result of an outbreak of equine herpes. Turfway’s situation began prior to the Christmas holidays and took approximately six weeks from start to finish. 
 

 

Jan 27, 2006
PIMLICO OFFICIALS CONSIDER LIFTING QUARANTINE NEXT SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 4TH (MJC News Release)


Transcript from Jan. 27 press conference enclosed


LAUREL, MD. 01-27-06---Maryland Jockey Club officials are hopeful it will be able to lift the quarantine on Pimlico Race Course next Saturday, February 4, which had been put in place because of an outbreak of equine herpesvirus (EHV-1). Chief Operating Officer Lou Raffetto made the announcement this afternoon at a news conference in the Laurel Park pressbox. Raffetto placed the quarantine on the historic Baltimore track last Saturday, January 21.


 Since the new year 11 horses at Pimlico have tested positive for the virus. Three horses have been euthanized, while eight horses are currently in isolation in the Detention Barn. Barns 5, 6 and A are in isolation from the general population after having horses show symptoms of the virus.


“We are hopeful, based on the evidence to date, barring any other incidents at Pimlico that we may be able to remove that quarantine effective Saturday the 4th,” said Raffetto. “Barn 5 will be out of isolation on the 30th. The hold order would remain in place until it is lifted from Barn 6 and Barn A and we would go back to the plan that was in place initially with other horses at Pimlico being allowed to run at Laurel, with the holds on the other barns until they are released. There is some good news here. We are moving in the right direction. We’re hopeful that we have this under control.


 “I’m very comfortable with that,” added Dr. Guy Hohenhaus, state veterinarian for the Department of Agriculture, who also took part in today’s news conference.


 This morning the Maryland Department of Agriculture placed an initial "Investigational Animal Hold Order" on Barn 9 at Laurel Park after a horse was euthanized yesterday.


“We can’t really say more about it than that it does not appear to have been a herpes case but we cannot exclude herpes as a cause so we are treating that as a suspect,” said Hohenhaus.
 “There is a question of lameness in this horse, a few days prior to this situation,” added Raffetto. “There is a feeling that this may be a broken pelvis. This is purely a precautionary measure as we’ve tried to take all along. We’ve tried to take extra measures.”


The outrider’s pony that was removed from Laurel to Pimlico after testing positive on a blood sample Monday afternoon, January 23 tested negative on nasal swabs, which means that animal is not infectious to other animals. It will be released from a Hold Order today and returned to duty.


Yesterday suspected cases of equine herpesvirus (EHV-1) caused the Maryland State Veterinarian to place an "Investigational Animal Hold Order" today on a private farm in Kent County. The farm is used as an off-track training facility for a Pimlico-based trainer. The farm received a horse from Pimlico on January 10, after the two-year-old spent the three previous days in Barn A while enroute from Ocala, Florida. The Maryland Department of Agriculture is waiting for test results, which are expected next week, to determine the cause of illness for one horse euthanized and another showing neurologic signs. The horse that visited Pimlico before transferring to Maryland’s Eastern Shore is not the horse that was euthanized.


Yesterday Raffetto decided not to card live racing on Sunday January 29 and Sunday February 5, two days which had previously been scheduled for racing on the Laurel winter calendar, due to a shortage of entries, stemming from a quarantine of 500 horses at Pimlico and restrictions on the movement of Thoroughbreds in and out of the state due to the outbreak of EHV-1.


This afternoon Raffetto indicated Laurel Park will likely move a pair of Grade II sprints on Presidents' Weekend to March. The $300,000 Barbara Fritchie Breeders’ Cup Handicap, scheduled to run February 18 and  $300,000 General George Breeders’ Cup Handicap, now set for February 20, are the marquee races of the Laurel winter meeting.
 

Laurel Park Cancels Two Sunday Racing Cards
LAUREL, MD. 01-26-06--
-

Officials at the Maryland Jockey Club have decided not to card live racing on Sunday January 29 and Sunday February 5, two days which had previously been scheduled for racing on the Laurel winter calendar. 


Laurel will continue to race four days a week, on a Wednesday through Saturday schedule. 


A shortage of entries, stemming from a quarantine of 500 horses at Pimlico Race Course and restrictions on the movement of Thoroughbreds in and out of the state due to an outbreak of equine herpesvirus (EHV-1), led to the scheduling decision by Chief Operating Officer Lou Raffetto after discussions with Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association President Richard Hoffberger. 


“We are working with a limited pool of horses and it has taken its toll on our entries,” said Raffetto. “Cutting back to four days a week the next two weeks will allow us to have the quality and quantity we were accustomed to before the outbreak of the virus.” 


Since the restrictions began on January 6, the average field size has been 7.3 per race. In 21 live days in December, Laurel averaged 8.6 starters per race. 


Races from January 29 will be used as extras for Wednesday, February 1. The races in the condition book for February 5 will be used as extras for Thursday, February 3 and Friday, February 4. 


HORSE IN BARN A EUTHANIZED 


Late Wednesday afternoon, just two days after his horse tested positive for equine herpesvirus (EHV-1), trainer Joe Delozier decided to have a private veterinarian euthanize General Strike, the horse in Barn A at Pimlico Race Course who showed symptoms of the virus last Thursday, January 19. The three-year-old was showing no improvement with recovery unlikely. 
Since the new year 11 horses have tested positive for the virus causing the Maryland Jockey Club to place a quarantine on Pimlico last Saturday until further notice. Three horses have been euthanized, while eight horses from Barns 5 and 6 are currently in isolation in the Detention Barn.  


An outrider’s pony that tested positive for the virus this Monday is still not showing symptoms of EHV. 
Equine herpesvirus-1 (also known as “rhino”), which causes upper respiratory infection, can also cause neurological disease. There is currently no known method to reliably prevent the neurologic form of EHV-1 infection.  It is recommended to maintain appropriate vaccination procedures in an attempt to reduce the incidence of the respiratory form of EHV-1 infection, which may help prevent the neurologic form. Transmission of the virus can occur via coughing or sneezing over a distance of up to 35 feet as well as by direct contact with infected horses, feed and equipment. Based on clinical signs, there is no reason to believe that there is any human health risk.  


Live racing is currently being conducted at Pimlico’s sister track, Laurel Park as scheduled on the Maryland calendar. The Pimlico spring meeting begins in mid-April. Until then the historic Baltimore track is open for simulcasting.

 

Jan 21, 2006
MJC PLACES QUARANTINE ON PIMLICO RACE COURSE

BALTIMORE , 01-21-06

The Maryland Jockey Club has placed a quarantine on Pimlico Race Course effective the end of racing today, January 21 until further notice because of the equine herpesvirus (EHV-1) situation at the Baltimore track.


 "This is a precautionary measure," said Lou Raffetto, Chief Operating Officer for the Maryland Jockey Club. "It is in our best interest to restrict the movement in and out of Pimlico until we see the outcome of the tests on the horse in Barn A."


 Nearly 500 horses are currently stabled at Pimlico, including nearly 110 affected by the Hold Orders. Horses from Barns A, 5 and 6 will continue to train from 10-11:30 a.m. The other horses based at Pimlico train from 5:30-9:30 a.m.


Live racing is currently being conducted at Pimlico's sister track, Laurel Park. The Pimlico spring meeting begins in mid-April.


 There is currently no known method to reliably prevent the neurologic form of EHV-1 infection.  It is recommended to maintain appropriate vaccination procedures in an attempt to reduce the incidence of the respiratory form of EHV-1 infection, which may help prevent the neurologic form. Transmission of the virus can occur via coughing or sneezing over a distance of up to 35 feet as well as by direct contact with infected horses, feed and equipment. Based on clinical signs, there is no reason to believe that there is any human health risk.
 
Turfway Park, Churchill Downs, Prairie Meadows, Calder Race Course and The Meadows all had cases of EHV-1 in 2005.

 

News Conferences


Jan 31 Press Briefing Equine Herpesvirus at Laurel

News Conference
Laurel Park Press Box
01-31-06
Equine Herpesvirus In Maryland
 
Dr. Guy Hohenhaus (State Veterinarian representing the Maryland Department of Agriculture):

Although today’s update might not be as positive as we may like, there’s good reason to be optimistic. Progress is being made at Pimlico. Last week we took diagnostic specimens to attempt to clear Barn 5, that’s the first barn that was affected on January 6th. Those results came back yesterday and while they were largely encouraging there was one animal that we cannot clear of our sample. This morning we followed up with a 100% testing of the animals in Barn 5 so we can clear animals individually and address any animals that are not cleared as an individual. We are doing the same procedure for Barn 8, which is the isolation barn where we put a small number of animals that actually got sick. They are now coming up on the three-week period and we expect to find most of them no longer carrying the virus. Those results will be back at the end of this week or Monday. Based on that, with the removal of any residual horses which might be infected in Barn 5 we can return healthy horses from Barn 8 to Barn 5, remove persistently infected horses to the isolation facility and at that point in time clear Barn 5. This procedure necessitates us to defer the Barn 6 clearing process, which we had originally hoped to schedule this week for approximately one week. We’ll pick that up next week.Following along to Laurel, there was a horse in Barn 9 we spoke about last week. That horse was initially thought by attending veterinarians to have sustained a rear limb injury. The horse was euthanized because it was progressively worse. The horse was necropsied at the College Park Animal Health laboratory last week; we were unable to confirm the diagnosis of broken pelvis or any other muscular skeletal disorder. As a precaution we’ve placed a hold order on Barn 9 pending a sample that was sent to several labs around the county. Last night two of those samples came back positive for herpes. The horse in Barn 9 is a confirmed case of herpes. We placed a 21 day order which started on the day the horse was euthanized, that clock is already ticking. That barn is being monitored along with strict preventative measures. Temperatures are being monitored so we can identify any new cases and today there have not been any other sick animals in that barn or any other barn at Laurel.


In Kent County there are a total of four horses since this began. This includes the horse that died last week. There are two horses that are showing neurological signs and one that is a simple fever at this time. While that situation is beginning to stabilize I cannot say with any confidence that there will not be any more cases over there. It has to run its course until we are confident that it is over.


During this entire time we are using the most up to date science and medical practices. We consult frequently with colleagues around the country that are grappling with this or have research institutions, other folks in the regulatory arena and the racing world. We need to also make it clear that each case, each farm, each barn is a unique entity and while we broadly apply standard operating procedures to these premises, we have to tailor the response to the individual circumstances. The best response to get the best outcome. We cannot compare what we do in one place to the other; sometimes the comparisons are not valid or strong. In most cases we are going beyond protocols, the Jockey Club has consistently placed restrictions above and beyond what my agency has determined were required for good prudent practice. They have always added to the requirements we placed on them and it certainly contributes to the ease, which we’ve been able to manage this problem. We urge everyone’s patience and diligence. We often forget that we are preventing cases by our actions.


It’s going to be a matter of time that we can bring this to a proper resolution. We need to continue to get the assistance of everyone who is contributing to the response.
Progress is being made and we have every reason to be positive and optimistic. This just will not end as quickly as everyone had would have wished.


Lou Raffetto (Chief Operating Officer, Maryland Jockey Club):

Needless to say we are disappointed about the outcome of the horse in Barn 9 at Laurel.


We’re going to conduct business as usual here. This has been the case in other jurisdictions that have faced these situations. As it relates to the horses in Barn 9, they will be quarantined in isolation for another 17 days, pending the outcomes of testing. The horses in that barn, all trained by Rodney Jenkins, will not go to the track to train. He’s elected to carry on his business in that fashion. Strict isolation during that time. We are hopeful that this is an isolated incident.


At Pimlico, there have not been any additional cases, but we are taking the extra measures and we are going to extend that quarantine through Tuesday with a plan, provided the hold order is lifted by the state. We are going to align our quarantine of Pimlico’s general horse population, which that hold order on Barn 5 and Barn 8. It would mean that we would then allow our horses to enter (races) this Friday for the first day of racing next week (Wednesday). We are hopeful the situation at Pimlico is under control and it’s just one isolated incident here. We’ll take whatever steps are necessary to keep it in one spot (at Laurel).


Dr. David Zipf (State Veterinarian representing the Maryland Racing Commission):

We’ve had to adapt and adjust to all of these situations and I’d like to commend trainer Rodney Jenkins in Barn 9 for taking the stance he has taken. He’s hoping his horses can get enough exercise without going to the track. He will not let any of his horses leave the barn. This is ideal. It’s a complete quarantine. We commend him and his whole crew. It’s a real class act. He was a show horse trainer. He’s dealt with strangles and other herpes outbreaks. He’s been down this road and learned from those experiences. We’re indebted to him.


Q: Why was the case in Barn 9 different?

 
Zipf:

The horse in Barn 9 has had a history of muscle problems, muscle stiffness. On January 13th it was scratched for a problem with muscle soreness in the hindquarters. We were dealing with this horse, but it had not shown the ataxia, which we attribute to the herpes type 1 virus. Then on the Monday before it euthanized it was showing lameness in the right front leg. We don’t see pronounced lameness with the herpes. Then the private veterinarian did a nerve block, suspecting the knee, he went to inject the horse and the horse flipped. We thought possibly it was trauma, a fracture, torn muscle, injury. On Thursday it was paralyzed and that was when they elected to euthanize the horse and submit it for a post mortem exam. It just wasn’t typical symptoms. This is an atypical bug we are dealing with and we expect to see these variations of the virus.


Hohenhaus: This horse would have not have been considered as a herpes suspect except taking in the circumstances of this situation. Because we are in a higher level of alert, we took the additional precautions initially and we’re happy we were proactive on that. This would be about the last horse we would have suspected because it hadn’t been racing; it hasn’t spent a lot time out of the barn. The good piece is that it was at a low risk for transferring it to others. We have not been able to link it to any other animals of concern at this time.


Q: How has racing been dealing with this?


Raffetto:

That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. We’re pretty strong right now. It takes its toll. It’s tough on the racing office. It’s tough on the trainers at Pimlico. We have a great deal of empathy for them. Obviously there are financial implications for the company and for the horsemen. We’re going to get beyond this. The most disappointing fact is that the whole Laurel meet has been going so well, sort of rebirth, so we’d been looking at the new year in a new way, but we’re faced with this and we’ll get by this and get back on track.


Q: There seem to be more unknowns than knowns about this virus.


Hohenhaus:

This is one of the more enigmatic diseases that you deal with, probably not the most but there are a lot of facets that we don’t understand. It confounds your ability to respond because you’re not sure what the enemy is doing. There are certain things that are predictable and we do things based on the science and what works.


It hasn’t been necessary to modify things at Laurel because there are quite a few management practices that were already in place designed to address the small part of the risk of transmission. The bigger part of the risk is close contact of horses to each other and shared equipment, bridles and bits and things like that. And the people, somebody who handles the sick horse and then another horse, the high-risk activities.


Raffetto:

The Rodney Jenkins horse (the Laurel horse in Barn 9) had been vaccinated, eight days prior to the illness.


Zipf:

In the Rodney Jenkins barn they are taking temperatures every three hours, every horse in the barn and they are not seeing any problems. We haven’t seen any other cases in the barn and we’re hoping we won’t.


Hohenhaus
:

A good vaccine generally protects a large percentage of the people or animals that are vaccinated with it but it by no means 100% and there are lots of reasons a vaccine fails. In this case this is not an ideal vaccine. Most are helpful. Horses that are currently vaccinated (every three to four months) tend to have less disease. A horse that is five to six months away from its last vaccination is not much different than a horse that was never vaccinated. There are no other restrictions at Laurel except for Barn 9.


Q: What is the gestation (incubation period) of the virus?


Hohenhaus:

The vast majority of horses that are infected are going to show signs of the disease within ten days of the infection. It might go beyond that, but that does not represent the typical horse.

Press Conference Transcript, Laurel Park Pressbox,  01-27-06

Equine Herpesvirus at Pimlico


Dr. Guy Hohenhaus, State Veterinarian, Md. Dept. Agriculture
Lou Raffetto, Chief Operating Officer, Maryland Jockey Club
 
Dr. Hohenhaus:

I want to update you on the Equine Herpesvirus in the state of Maryland. Last night we put out a release where we told you of a private horse farm in Kent County that had a horse that was euthanized with clinical signs consistent with neurologic herpes. That animal was examined in one of our laboratories and additional results are pending. Also on that farm is another horse that has neurological signs consistent with herpes. That  horse is somewhat better today by my reports. A third horse on that property has a fever. The horse that died is linked to Pimlico (this statement was corrected later in the press conference – the horse that was euthanized had not passed through Pimlico), apparently passed through Pimlico several weeks ago through one of the barns that is currently effected, prior to us being aware of any disease in that barn. There is a clear link to Pimlico but that is all we have at this time. Currently we have investigators on the ground in Kent County that are working with the farm owner. They are tracing any horses that may be linked to that farm to make sure no additional concerns.


There appear to be no concerns in the immediate area of that farm with regard to any neighboring areas. There is a 21 day hold order that has been placed on that property if there are no additional cases then in 21 days we will be begin clearing that property for release.


 The second issue here at Laurel, yesterday, at about the same time in the morning there was a horse that was euthanized. The horse had clinical signs that are not in fact strongly consistent with neurologic herpes. The working diagnosis, working hypothesis by the attending veterinarian was that the horse had an injury, possibly a pelvic injury that would account for its lameness and progressive (decline). That animal was euthanized in the morning because it appeared to be getting worse. Our College Park lab has additional lab work pending next week. We are hopeful that this is not herpes, but we cannot exclude the fact that this could be herpes and we are taking extra precaution of placing the barn that this horse was in, in a short term hold order until we have results back next week that will clarify the situation. We are erring on the side of caution.


 At Pimlico, in the first barn, Barn 5, there have been no new cases in almost three weeks now. We are beginning a testing protocol, where we can hopefully clear that barn sometime next week, provided the results come back all negative on the horses. If they are not all negative we would have to work on clearing horses one at a time. Barn 6 is approximately a week behind Barn 5. The same situation applies. We expect to be sampling horses to see if they are no longer shedding virus in that barn.


 The outrider pony that was removed from Laurel to Pimlico tested positive on a blood sample, but tested negative on nasal swabs, which means that animal is not infectious to other animals. It will be released from hold today and be returned to duty.


 A couple of other things. There have been no new cases in Barns 5 or 6 since the 15th of January so we are starting to get a pretty good timeline. No new cases at Pimlico since the 19th, so we’re passed a week on that. We feel confidently the measures that have been put in place by our agency with the full cooperation and collaboration of the jockey club, owners, trainers and others are continuing to work well and we make progress. If this continues its good news for racing in Maryland, good news for the horse industry in general. What we’re doing appears to be working despite having a setback or two.


Lou Raffetto:

We believe that at this point in time we’ve taken the proper precautionary measures where we’re delighted with the work of Dr. Hohenhaus and his staff and we appreciate all their efforts. This past Saturday we put the entire barn area at Pimlico on quarantine. This is really a precautionary measure so we can step back and analyze the situation. We’re pleased to see we are making progress. We are hopeful, based on the evidence to date, barring any other incidents at Pimlico that we may be able to remove that quarantine effective Saturday the 4th (February). Doctor says Barn 5 will be out of isolation on the 30th. The hold order would remain in place until it is lifted from Barn 6 and Barn A and we would go back to the plan that was in place initially with other horses at Pimlico being allowed to run at Laurel, with the holds on the other barns until they are released. There is some good news here. We are moving in the right direction. We’re hopeful that we have this under control.


Q: Can you speak to the impact that this is having at Laurel?


Raffetto:

I was hopeful when we quarantined the Pimlico barn area that we might be able to continue on a five day a week basis by reducing the number of races. The first day we had no problem with entries or the following two days, but I think it was more wishful thinking. As it turns out, we are working with two barn areas (Laurel and Bowie), with no shippers coming from any other locations. We have about 1,500 horses in those two barn areas but realistically a thousand active horses, so we decided it would be prudent to reduce the schedule to four days a week, take six programs that would have been below the quality that we are seeking and end up with four programs that will be what our fans are used to. Obviously there is an economic impact for us, but at this point that is a short term problem that we are dealing with. We’re more concerned with the long term situation.


Generally speaking, total handle on those days is $2 million in handle outside the state of Maryland and approximately a quarter of a million dollars within our boundaries. It’s about $125,000 that the horsemen would lose by not running those races, but on the other hand, because we simulcast we probably could get half of that back. The net loss to the horsemen on generating purse money is probably in the vicinity of $70,000 and for the association somewhere in that vicinity also.


Q: Are you concerned that out of state owners won’t bring their horses to Pimlico for the Preakness once that meet starts?


Raffetto:

No. I don’t have any concerns. This same situation existed in Kentucky last year. Once they understand it, the nature of it, while this is highly contagious, it is easy to kill and we are not talking about opening Pimlico (to race) until April 20th we’re certain that this will be long behind us and we don’t expect any residual effect of this situation. Turfway had a similar situation. There has been no negative effect on them, horses not wanting to run there.


General George Day (Sat. Feb. 18th) and Barbara Fritchie Day (Mon. Feb. 20th) are two days we are concerned with. In the near term, even though we feel we are moving in the right direction, we don’t have a final timeline on this obviously, so we are going to take a real hard look at moving those races to March. We think it’s in the best interest of the racing program.


While it’s a difficult situation, in that you hate to lose the events, again it’s what is best for the program. It’s a very strong likelihood that those two races, each $300,000 events, would be moved to some time in March when we feel comfortable that the quarantines will be lifted and with the other states around us.


There’s probably a 90% chance that we are going to do this. We wouldn’t be doing right by our races if we ran them. I could say it’s more than likely. I can’t tell you when we are going to move them, to which date, but I’m comfortable saying they could be moved two to four weeks later.


Q: There is some supposition that this originated in Florida. Do you have any more on this?


Hohenhaus:

The question of Florida comes up anytime there is an outbreak in another part of the country. The disappointing news is that you’re not often able to trace back where this comes from. In the case of Kent County, there seems to be a link to Pimlico. I don’t know that there is any specific link to Florida.


There was a horse euthanized yesterday at Laurel. We can’t really say more about it than that it does not appear to have been a herpes case but we cannot exclude herpes as a cause so we are treating that as a suspect. We have a report of confidentially. The appropriate action has been taken in the barn area. We have put a restriction on that barn, similar to what we have done at Pimlico.


 Q: How comfortable are you at lifting the quarantine at Pimlico on February 4th?


Hohenhaus
:

I’m very comfortable with that. That self imposed quarantine is a track decision that has been made for business purposes that obviously have relationship to animal health but it is in addition to the official restrictions that my agency has placed on controlling contagious disease.


Raffetto:

Additionally, on the question of the horse in Barn 9 here at Laurel. There is a question of lameness in this horse, a few days prior to this situation. There is a feeling that this may be a broken pelvis. This is purely a precautionary measure as we’ve tried to take all along. We’ve tried to take extra measures.


Hohenhaus:

We’re in the process of trying to clear Barn 5 at Pimlico. That involves taking some nasal samples. If those come back all with a favorable result we can lift the hold after the 30th.


Hohenhaus: I’ve just been informed that the horse that was euthanized in Kent County was not the horse that came through Pimlico. The animal which came through Pimlico is one of the sick animals, but the euthanized horse was not the Pimlico horse.


Q: Are there any other precautions at Laurel?


Hohenhaus:

There are several things being done that are of a general nature. Decontaminating the starting gate and all those type of things that are very important and prudent. Those things tend to fall in the extraordinary layers of precaution that we take. They’re not likely to yield a great deal of benefit but they are straightforward and we do it because they yield a little benefit that is good.
-mjc-

 

Jan 21, 2006
Transcript - Jan 21 Press Briefing Equine Herpesvirus at PimlicoPress Conference 01-21-06
Topic: Equine Herpesvirus at Pimlico

Laurel Park Pressbox
Lou Raffetto, Chief Operating Officer Maryland Jockey Club
Dr. David Zipf, state veterinarian for the Maryland Racing Commission


Q: Why Quarantine Pimlico now?


Raffetto:

We’ve been contemplating this. We’ve been trying to hold off. I think the icing on the cake was when one of the horses stabled at Penn National ran here January 2nd, the same day as the horse belonging to Simon Purdy, came up positive. We felt we had to take some kind of action, albeit drastic, to deal with it, to try to curtail it, not that we know it’s going to work but we felt we needed to do something. As to that horse, we don’t know if that horse had it when she raced that day for sure.


Dr. Zipf: Just judging from the nature of the disease, the horse from Penn National developed the symptoms just four days after it raced here, it raced on a Monday and on Friday it started to spike a fever, one of the first signs of this disorder. The incubation period is usually seven to ten days so this does not fit, the symptoms showed up in a time frame that was not in line with what we know. It was only four days. This can happen. There are a lot of variability’s, depending on the animal, its body chemistry, all kinds of factors come into play. It can be shorter than seven to ten days. This horse could have been harboring the infection before it came here. This is supposition. Putting part of the puzzle together and this is one of the pieces. It is now on a farm and show quite extensive symptoms of ataxia. It is still alive but it is a severe case of a neurotically herpes type I.


Raffetto: Also keep in mind the horse in Barn A, we have not received tests on that horse. Horses sometimes come up with a fever. This horse has not come up with a fever. It is eating up, unlike the other two horses that had to be put down. This is a precautionary measure. Once we know this horse is positive or not we will take the next appropriate step. Barn 5 is scheduled to get out of quarantine on the 30th of this month. There have been other indications back there to this point. This had been a great deal of concern by all facets of the industry. The owners and trainers here and in all jurisdictions. Hopefully we are erring on the side of caution. Hopefully this horse will come back negative and that would be great.


Q. There is no timetable for Pimlico?


Raffetto:

It’s closed until further notice.


Q. What does this do to racing?


Raffetto
:

That remains to be seen. Entries for Wednesday were on the light side, but certain days fall that way anyway. We know there are trainers at Pimlico that haven’t been running because of their horses stressing so they’ve been reluctant to enter. Maybe here and at Bowie, too, because they didn’t want to race with Pimlico horses. We took entries today, removed Pimlico horses from the box and I believe the card for Thursday has eighty-three horses. Is it going to have an impact? Absolutely. Possibly to the point of a horse a race, but what’s more important is the long-term program. We need to keep it going. If we have to cut back to eight races on any given day we will. We have a lot going on in February with the SprintFest and we need to get this cleared up so the jurisdictions are willing to ship into Maryland and vice versa by that time.  Keep in mind Turfway had a similar situation with two barns that were quarantined and they continued to race at Turfway.


Our situation is a little bit different because unlike Kentucky where the horses are basically there and race only there to a great extent, we have horses that ship in and ship out. We will do what we need to do. If there is a shortage of horses we’ll cut back to eight races a day. If there is a greater shortage of horses we will cut back to four days a week, but I’m hoping that the support of the local program will let us continue to race five days a week.


Q: Can you explain the nature of the herpes virus?


Dr. Zipf:

This virus is host specific. It does not jump from one species to another. Type I and Type 4 are the problem ones. Type I causes cough, nasal discharge but it can also cause neurological problems. Horses get it in intimate contact. They show it in varying degrees to the point where they lay down and they can’t get up. It effects to different degrees to different horses. Once it’s in a population a horse can pick it up and it remains latent. For some unknown reason, a year or more after it picks it up, it takes off and becomes virulent. This is a kind of persistent thing.  The severity and the occurrence are becoming more prevalent and this is scary. This is why we’re so concerned.


Q: Were all three horses that you are testing for the virus, were they all inoculated?


Dr. Zipf
:

The horse in Barn A was inoculated in a pretty stringent vaccination program. The other two I don’t believe were.


Q: Would you move the date of the SprintFest if this virus is still hanging around in February?


Raffetto:

We would consider that. We’re not going to do anything that jeopardizes the quality of the program. If it’s in the best interest we will move it datewise. We’re four weeks away and we’d like to think with the hold period in Barn 5 over on the 30th and Barn 6 maybe another week of that, we should have some idea and sufficient time to modify the schedule if needs be. If we decide two weeks out from now we’re fine. What we’re going to continue to do is isolate Barns 5, 6 and A and mandate that they train different hours as they have been. If the quarantine is still in effect on the 31st and there have been no more indications in Barn 5, my feeling is letting Barn 5 go back in training with the rest of the general horse population, if there is no more indication of the virus at that time.

Raffetto:

Today’s restriction (at Pimlico) is being put into effect by the Maryland Jockey Club, not by any governmental official. We made an announcement to the horsemen at Pimlico and passed out a notice stating that the quarantine was in effect restricting movement out of the barn area until further notice, pending test results of the horse in Barn A. The people at Pimlico were not surprised. They’ve handled it. They understand the nature of it. While it is very difficult for them, as it is for us to put it into effect, they’ve been receptive, if one can put it that way, to such a situation.

Q: The horses that were entered to run from Pimlico were allowed to run today?

Raffetto:

We allowed those horses to run. Some were already in route. This is all a precautionary move. It’s not because there is another case.

Q: When will you get the test results on the horse in Barn A?

Dr. Zipf:

Four days for the titer and seven to ten days for the PCR.

Raffetto:

This horse is reacting differently than the horses that were put down. I don’t believe this horse is running a temperature. He’s been eating up, which is unlike the others and there’s been no indication of anything in Barn A. We’re hoping that this is something else. It may be likely, so this is why this quarantine is in effect. If the test is negative that could be a real positive for us.

 

Jan 19, 2006
Transcript - Jan 19 News Conference Pimlico Equine Herpes Situation at PimlicoPress Conference 01-19-06
Topic: Equine Herpesvirus at Pimlico
Laurel Park Pressbox

Dr. Guy Hohenhaus, state veterinarian for the Maryland Department of Agriculture 
Dr. David Zipf, state veterinarian for the Maryland Racing Commission
Georganne Hale, Maryland Jockey Club racing secretary


Q: Can we recap how many are sick?


Georganne Hale:

In Barn 8, the isolation barn, we have six from Barn 5 and two from Barn 6.


Dr. Hohenhaus:

The horses in Barn 8 continue to make good progress and even if they fully recover, they’re going to be restricted in that barn for some time and we’ll begin testing on that.


Q. What did you find this morning?


Dr. Hohenhaus:

The disease has appeared on a different side at Pimlico than we’ve been working with the past couple weeks. A single horse in Barn A, that has led to the isolation of that horse in Barn A.That horse has been taken to a remote area of the barn, far away from horses as we can get it. The Department of Agriculture has put a hold order on that barn. Animals coming in and out of that barn are being put on strict limitation. There are three barns that have had disease outbreaks and one barn that we moved the animals as a convenience to better managing and isolation.


Dr. Zipf:

The horse in barn A was ataxic. That means it was uncoordinated. It was still on it’s feet, it was upright but a bit wobbly, still alert, it was eating, it did not have a fever but we don’t know if the fever could have been several days ago and gone undetected. There was an area in Barn A with ten stalls vacant so we moved it to that area.


Dr. Hohenhaus:

The seriousness of the disease is that we’ve dealt with approximately ten cases and two horses have been put down. That would mean that you have a mortality of about twenty percent. It’s very consistent with other outbreaks at other facilities. It’s only a small fraction of the horses at Pimlico.


Q. How is it spread?


Dr. Hohenhaus: It is most likely spread by close contact or by wind or by equipment shared by horses. Less likely to be tracked on the feet of people and the measures that the track has taken to control this outbreak are consistent with the things to reduced those possibilities.


Q. What measures are you taking to control the spread?


Georganne Hale:

We have three holding barns now. There are guards at each end. Nobody can enter unless they work in that barn. When they leave they have to step into the disinfectant container that we have outside?


Q. What about the horses?


Georganne Hale:

Those horses affected can only train after 10 a.m. The other horses train from 5:30 to 9:30. The horses in the other barns can go anywhere. The affected horses cannot come to Laurel to race.


Dr. Hohenhaus:

The other horses are free to move about as normal.


Q. What is the treatment?


Dr. Zipf:

Right now they are using heavy doses of the steroids, the anti-inflammatory drugs. It’s a symptomatic treatment, relieve the inflammation the virus sets up in the tissue. That’s the main course of treatment.


Q: What new concerns do you have?


Dr. Hohenhaus:

I can’t tell you if it did or did not spread from the other side. The other possibility is that this is a purely timed coincidence. As far as time goes it looks like it is related but is going to be difficult to say for certain.


Q: Did you look to see if this coincided with when the horses last raced?


Georganne Hale:

I check when each horse had raced and I checked the forms from the horses on the vans and nothing coincides. They raced on different days. They were not on the same vans. Nothing.


Dr. Hohenhaus:

Along that line it’s natural where did it come from. We probably will not have that answer but I’m more really interested in where it might go. We are looking to make sure no horses from any of the barns, particularly from Barn A were in contact with other horses. We are tracking where the horses have been in the past week. If a few more days pass and we have no more linked we may have passed the probable time that that could have happened.


Q: How many horses are we talking about? How many horses have to be held.


Georganne Hale:

We’re looking a little over a hundred horses. It definitely has affected my entries. Now people are getting a little timid from entering from up at Pimlico. Some states are not allowing horses to ship into me now. They are saying if they go to run there (in Maryland) you can’t come back. Now we have Middleburg Training Center saying if you leave Middleburg you can’t come back.

Dr. Hohenhaus:

A horse that has been in Maryland generally is not able to go other places. That includes horses passing through Maryland have gotten into trouble with other states. Any horse that visited or passed through Maryland is getting effected. As inconvenient as it is for us, those are the things we would do to other states in similar situations. That’s how states look out for their animal populations.

Q. How long will this last if this is it?


Dr. Hohenhaus:

At twenty-one days without any new diseases outbreaks or cases we would start considering are we in fact free of this. As we get a little further away from an active infection of a given animal we’d still like to give additional tests to see if they are still potentially infectious.


Q: This is affecting the horse industry in the state of Maryland?


Dr. Hohenhaus
:

Absolutely. It’s not like getting a cold and then you’re layed up for a week and then you’re better. It lingers on and we have to impose reasonable safety margins. Certainly Barn 5 is furthest along in this process. We’re pushing two weeks so conceivably Barn 5 could be released from the hold in about 10 days.


The general rule is Maryland horses are restricted in the region. Different states are doing different things to us. In some instances it’s just horses from the racing industry. In other instances it’s more broad. Each state has the ability to tailor its own response.


Q: How many shippers a week do you get?


Georganne Hale:

Probably 30% of my horses are shippers. Philadelphia Park is letting their horses ship in if I keep them apart from everybody in the receiving barn, if I put a private barn to put them in. New York is letting them, also.


When those horses get out of the holding barns I’m going to have to write shorter races for them. Right now we’re going with nine races a day. I haven’t had anybody pack up and leave. People who horses on the farm are saying they will just run them from off the farm and keep them up there.


Dr. Zipf:

Those horses in Barn 5 and 6 might be withholding training right now so as not to put the horses under stress and risk their immunity.


Q: Would it be a good idea to close down Pimlico?


Dr. Hohenhaus:

That’s the million dollar question today because we decided that all factors being considered it wasn’t necessary or appropriate at this point in time. The emergence in herpes in another barn would be the threshold. Further out from that if it came out in another barn we would close that side of Pimlico. Is the control strategy working? We can say that it may not be working as well as we like, because nobody wanted to see Barn 6 involved last week because things had been going well. That was unwanted, not completely unexpected, from an adjacent barn, from airborne spread or somebody moving it. The opposite situation is what we see today. If I knew for certain that this came from the other side of Pimlico, then clearly something we’re doing isn’t quite adequate. This is the season for this particular disease and there’s nothing to say that it can’t emerge in more than one place at the same time, so where it came from I don’t know. Maybe this is a very unfortunate coincidence. It is not a clear indication that we ’ve lost control in things.


The good folks at Pimlico are doing extraordinary things. They’ve hired extra security guards, posted them around these barns to control the movement. There changing boot wash, sometimes hourly. Training schedules have been turned on their heads.


Trainer, owners everybody have been agreeable. No finger pointing. None of the ugly things. People are doing what we’re asking them to do. Pimlico has maintained a semblance of order without radically altering things, except for Barns 5 and 6. We’ve had superb cooperation. Folks are willing to do anything, at great expense to the operation.


The private vets are the ones who treat the animals. They are the very important link. Most private vets are accredited by the state government as agents of the government. They are the eyes and ears. We are in conversations with them on a daily basis. I have a veterinary field investigator, Dr. Marla Stevens. She is my personal eyes and ears on the situation on a daily basis at Pimlico. Dr. Zipf is there every day.


Dr. Zipf:

The horses from Barn 6 were admitted (to Barn 8) on the basis of a high fever. Neither has exhibited neurological problems.


Dr. Hohenhaus:

We deal with the horses in the area where they are. We have a way to deal with them in Barn A, where we can accomplish what we want to accomplish. It’s a sick horse already so you can’t make it a whole lot sicker. The downside of moving it to Barn 8, although it was an intuitive thought, that might cause more trouble on the other side, disturb people and disrupt very good communication and cooperation we have. I don’t want them to think they’re the repository for sick horses.


The truth is with an outbreak, in the end its not all neatly tied up. It’s often unsatisfying but the real purpose is to stop it as soon as we can, to prevent it wherever we can. I’d say were still in the middle of the road.


Every horse that breaks with illness is one too many, but I wouldn’t call this a huge, catastrophic outbreak. We’re heavily embargoed in many areas already and have been since we made the first report.

 

Transcript - Jan 13 Press Briefing Equine Herpesvirus at PimlicoTranscript of news conference concerning Equine Herpesvirus at Pimlico
01-13-2006
Laurel Park Pressbox

Dr. David Zipf-State Veterinarian, Maryland Racing Commission
Georganne Hale-Director Of Racing/Racing Secretary, Maryland Jockey Club


Q: What is going on in the detention barn right now?

 
Dr. Zipf: As of right now there are six horses. One horse right now has pretty severe symptoms. Five of the six have been confirmed with cytology tests, this tells that the virus is present. The sixth is not positive yet because the test has not been done yet, but I'm sure it will show. The ones that have shown the symptoms are responding to treatment as well as can be expected. Each day they get slightly better. To keep the fever down they get anti-pyretic drugs and heavy cortical steroids to reduce the virus in the nervous system.


We met at Pimlico this morning hoping to get the reports from the lab. There were no more cases in Barn 5. The war wasn't over but we thought we'd won the battle, but as soon as we got there we heard there was a horse down in Barn 6 and we all gasped. We were hoping it was colic or a fracture but the symptoms were very identical to News Reporter, the initial horse. The horse was euthanized. It could not even sit up. It was thrashing, doing damage to itself. It was taken right to the Department of Agriculture in Beltsville to do the cytology work again. They'll be able to tell right away from examination.


This barn is possibly forty feet from Barn 5. It could have been an aerosol infection. This is unlikely but a possibility. We still believe it has to be pretty intimate contact. We don't know where this horse has been. It might have been walked one barn over, especially if it was during inclement weather.


Q: Have you been in contact with Turfway Park at all?


Dr. Zipf: I get memos from them. Like with Penn National, I get write-ups from the vets there. Now they've sent me a complete organized paper. It was similar with what was happening here until it jumped to another barn here.
It seems like when it manifests itself, it is much more severe then where one infected horse spreads it to another. It's always been one very acute case that is the trigger, then subsequent degree of infections in subsequent horses.


Q: How many of the horses at Pimlico were vaccinated for this?


Dr. Zipf:

Anywhere from 40 to 60% of the private vets are doing this. There is some question to the efficiency of the vaccine.


Q: Would it be in the best interest of the racetrack to mandate the vaccine?


Georganne Hale:

It's like me telling you have to get a flu shot. Some people believe in it. Some don't. The ones who take horses back and forth from the farm, they are more likely to do this.


Dr. Zipf:

The degree of protection is questionable. If the horse is a carrier, it's questionable how much protection they're getting from the vaccine. The ones in isolation are being treated with a human anti-viral medication (Acyclovir). It's for shingles and chicken pox. It's in the family. It's an oral medication. It's going to lessen the degree of the infection in the body. There's nothing for horses. It's the only product out there.
 
Q: Would you recommend that infected horses vacate?


Dr. Zipf:

This was discussed. The idea is where would you move them?


Quarantine would be the next move.


Q: Could the other horses go elsewhere?


Georganne Hale:

I haven't had anyone pack up and leave. People who run them off the farm will just keep them up there. It's hurting everybody. The horses which are being kept from racing are being set back and will have to train back to shape.
 
Dr. Zipf:

The latency of the virus is what's scary. We're seeing more of it and there's no geographical limits on a horse's travel. I knew it was just a matter of time. Up until now we had dodged a bullet here.
 
Q: Is this more than in other years?

 
Dr. Zipf:

Maybe we've seen a similar number of outbreaks but the ones we've seen years ago, maybe 7-10 years ago, there would be one horse and that was it. That's what is scary. We're seeing it more widespread, not just one horse in one stable. We are encouraging vaccinating. It will cut down on the severity.