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More cases of equine herpes virus reported

CONYERS -- The Georgia Department of Agriculture is recommending any Georgia horses that participated in a horse show in Ocala, Fla., in late February not participate in any other horse shows for the next 21 days due to an outbreak of equine herpes virus.

Initially, one horse at the Horse Shows in the Sun in Ocala tested positive for EHV-1 on Feb. 20. Since then, five additional horses that are linked to the HITS Show in Ocala and one horse that has not been linked have tested positive for the EHV-1 wild-type.

The state Department of Agriculture also recommends that all horses that attended the show be isolated and monitored twice daily for fever and clinical signs of this disease. Any horses that have been in contact with a horse that attended the HITS show should be included in the isolation.

If there is evidence of fever or illness, a veterinarian should be consulted as soon as possible. Anyone that was in attendance at this event should ensure that adequate biosecurity is maintained so that the potentially deadly viral disease is not transported back to Georgia.

According to Dr. Robert Cobb, Georgia's state veterinarian, 13 Georgia horses that attended the show and were in the same tent with the infected horse have been quarantined in Florida. Other Georgia horses have returned to the state but have been inspected by the state Equine Health Division and are under voluntary quarantine.

The Georgia Department of Agriculture is asking all those in the equine community to report any suspected cases of EHV-1 by calling the Georgia Department of Agriculture at 404-656-3671 or 404-656-3667.