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State quarantines four stables to prevent spread of horse herpes virus

David Wild
Creative Commons

Four horse stables are under quarantine because of a herpes virus outbreak. There are three confirmed cases at two stables; one in Livingston County and one in Saginaw. The virus popped up last month at an event in Barry County.

Two of the three horses displayed neurological symptoms, though the strain of virus is a respiratory one. One of those horses was euthanized.

Here’s an excerpt from an article Dr. Judy Marteniuk at Michigan State University Extension put out recently.

“The originally identified strain of EHV-1 appears to have mutated into a strain that replicates more rapidly and has a predilection for neurologic tissue. The mutated virus circulates at higher levels in the body earlier in the course of the disease and maintains the high level of virus within the body for a longer period of time. However, both the mutated and original virus can cause neurological disease.”

When the virus attacks neurological tissue, a horse’s symptoms are more severe.

People are being urged to vaccinate their horses and check their temperatures at least twice a day. Those with a fever of 101.5 or more should contact their veterinarian.

An official with Michigan’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development said MDARD will be posting updated information about the outbreak on its Facebook page as it is confirmed.

State law prohibits MDARD from releasing the names of the stables that are under quarantine.

Lindsey Smith is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently leading the station's Amplify Team. She previously served as Michigan Public's Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.