EHV-1 Death Reported at New Bolton in Chester County, PA [Updated March 6]

Within the past week the European FEI competition season has ground to a halt due to EHV-1 outbreaks, we’ve reported on multiple cases including deaths in Canada, and two cases in Ocala, Florida have been identified. Another fatal case was confirmed at New Bolton in Chester County, Pennsylvania, on Wednesday, March 3. You can click on any marker on the map above for more information about specific outbreaks of Equine Herpesvirus – Neurologic in North America in the past four months.

Tying the cases together can feel like detective work with strings and thumbtacks. With the Covid-19 pandemic in humans, we’ve all learned a lot about viral disease control and spread over the past year, including the merits of contact tracing, quarantine and transparent communication.

The Equine Disease Communications Center has shared the following information about the Chester County case:

Number Confirmed: 1;
Number Exposed: Not Reported;
Facility Type: Veterinary Hospital;
Onset of Clinical Signs: 3/3/2021; Clinical Signs: Neurologic Signs- Severe; Confirmation Date: 3/3/2021; Horse Status: Euthanized; Vaccination Status: Status Unknown;
Notes: The University of Pennsylvania’s large animal hospital, New Bolton Center in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania has diagnosed a patient admitted with neurologic signs as having Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy (EHV-1). The limited number of potentially exposed horses have been identified and are being contacted by New Bolton Center and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. Due to the limited nature of the potential exposure, New Bolton Center’s clinical hospital operations have not been affected. This case has no known association with international travel, transport, or exhibition. New Bolton Center is working closely with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, and will provide additional updates as they become available.

USEF will host a member webinar providing updates on the impacts of the case of EHV-1 (neurological) reported in Ocala, Fla. This case is similar in nature, but unrelated to the neurological strain of EHV-1 impacting Valencia (ESP) and other European countries. The webinar will focus on providing information and educational resources on EHV-1, as well as answer member questions and provide insight on how to most successfully prepare for a potential outbreak and best practices that should be implemented to minimize the risk of transmission. The webinar takes place on Monday, March 8 at 5 p.m. EST. You can register here. A replay of the March 4 webinar of EHV-1 outbreak information for veterinarians and competition organizers can be viewed here.

You can learn more about the outbreak via the American Association of Equine Practitioners here and view all disease alerts via the Equine Disease Communications Center here.

Some U.S. events next weekend — so far Red Hills and Copper Meadows — are implementing extra biosecurity measures and requirements for competitors, so if you’re competing next weekend make sure to double check these. As we’ve all experienced in our own lives this past year, good hygiene and biosecurity measures are never a bad idea so remember to wear your mask, wash your hands, and don’t let your horses touch noses. Please familiarize yourself with useful biosecurity tips here.