Ohio Department of Agriculture officials today lifted a quarantine at Beulah Park, declaring it safe for horses to move in and out of the facility, following an equine herpes virus outbreak, which occurred between Dec. 22 and Jan. 11.
This action signifies 30 days have elapsed since the last clinical signs of the disease were detected at the 3811 Southwest Blvd., Grove City racing facility.
On Dec. 22, 2010 the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory performed a necropsy (animal autopsy) on a Thoroughbred horse that exhibited signs of neurological illness before it died at the Southwest Columbus track. A quarantine was immediately placed on Beulah Park on Dec. 23 after laboratory test results from the necropsy substantiated the presence of the EHVâ1 organism.
During the course of the outbreak, department confirmed the organism in two additional Thoroughbred horses exhibiting the same symptoms that also died at the track.
The EHVâ1 organism can spread quickly from horse to horse and can cause three different forms of disease: rhinopneumonitis (a respiratory disease of mostly young horses), abortions in pregnant mares, the neurologic disease EHVâ1 myeloencephalopathy, which can be fatal to horses.
The stricken horses at Beulah Park showed symptoms of the neurological form. The virus is not a human health threat.
Due to quick action and bioâsecurity measures, the virus was contained to one barn and no other horses were harmed. This is the first outbreak in Ohio since 2003, when scientists from the department worked quickly to isolate and characterize the equine herpes virus strain that caused an equine disease outbreak in Hancock County.
“The professional work of staff at Beulah Park was critical in limiting exposure to EHVâ1,” said State Veterinarian Tony Forshey. “Thanks to their cooperation and thorough work in following essential biosecurity measures we were able to quickly resolve this quarantine situation.”
Ohio’s equine industry is a valuable segment to Ohio’s economy. It contributes a total economic impact valued at approximately $2.2 billion in goods and services and is made up of more than 307,000 horses.