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Oct 27, 2006

More than 1,000 horses quarantined at Monmouth


Trenton, NJ (Sports Network) - The New Jersey Department of Agriculture quarantined more than 1,000 horses at Monmouth Park due to a strain of the equine herpes virus.

The department confirmed positive test results on at least one horse for the neuropathogenic strain of equine herpes. At last four horses have been tested over the last several days after they showed signs of fevers. Those four horses, and others that have had contract with them, have been separated from the rest of the horses.

State veterinarian Dr. Nancy Halpern said her office received verbal confirmation from a laboratory in Kentucky of the positive result on at least one horse. Results from the other horses being testing are pending.

Horses under quarantine will not be permitted to be moved until they have shown no indications of the disease for at least 21 days.

"Although not harmful to humans, the neuropathogenic form of equine herpes is a very serious and often fatal disease for horses, so we must take these cases very seriously," New Jersey Agriculture Secretary Charles M. Kuperus said. "The equine sector is a very important part of our agricultural landscape. While we understand this may be an inconvenience to the owners of these horses, we must take the necessary precautions to avoid the spread of this disease."

The equine herpes virus can spread quickly and cause respiratory problems, especially in young horses and result in spontaneous abortions in pregnant mares. The neurologic form of the virus can reach high morbidity rates and mortality rates.

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