Virus is contagious between horses, but does not affect humans
RALEIGH – The neurologic form of equine herpesvirus, EHV-1, has been confirmed in a North Carolina horse. The horse, from a Rockingham County stable, was taken to the College of Veterinary Medicine at N.C. State University upon becoming ill, and directly quarantined to the equine isolation unit of the hospital.
“We have been fortunate that we’ve not seen this particular form of this common virus in North Carolina to date, even though it has been increasing in frequency throughout the country for almost a decade now,” said State Veterinarian David Marshall. “We are working with the College of Veterinary Medicine and with the stable to implement biosecurity measures and minimize the risk of further spread.”
EHV-1 is highly contagious among horses, but poses no threat to humans. It most often causes respiratory infections in young horses, but different strains can also pose neurologic problems, which the affected N.C. horse exhibited. The virus also can cause abortion in pregnant horses or neonatal death. Vaccines are available that protect horses from most forms of EHV-1, but not from the strains that cause neurologic problems.