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Horse in Burleigh County tested positive for equine herpes virus



Bismarck, North Dakota – Equine herpes virus type 1 (EHV-1) has been identified in a horse that resides in Burleigh County, as confirmed by the North Dakota Department of Agriculture.

Equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy, also known as EHM, is the neurologic effect that the virus has, and the Animal Health Division of the department and the North Dakota State Board of Animal Health said that the horse tested positive for the condition.

EHV-1 is a highly infectious and contagious virus that can spread from horse to horse through direct contact, through the air, and on contaminated hands, equipment, and clothing.

The virus is almost exclusively spread among horses and does not present any danger to human health.

There has only been one confirmed case of the virus in Burleigh County, but it has been found in other areas, including Kentucky, Florida, Massachusetts, and California.

Any horses that are going to be staying in North Dakota for an extended period of time are required by law to have a certificate of veterinary inspection with them.

The risk of the disease being passed from person to person can be mitigated by taking preventative steps such as not sharing food or water containers and avoiding close personal contact.

“Prevention starts by keeping sick animals at home and being aware of the risk factors while traveling and competing,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Ethan Andress.

According to the North Dakota Department of Agriculture, EHV-1 has been linked to respiratory disease, abortion, the death of neonates, and even, on occasion, the neurologic form of the disease known as EHM. Although the currently available EHV-1 vaccines may lessen the amount of virus shed, they do not provide protection against the neurologic manifestation of the disease.

“These incidents serve as a reminder to work with your local veterinarian on preventive programs for all species,” Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said.