No new equine herpes at track; some quarantine could end
NEW ORLEANS (AP) Louisiana's agriculture secretary says a track-wide quarantine at the New Orleans Fair Grounds could end by Saturday, since the last new equine herpes infection was detected Dec. 31.
Horses in 42 barns where no horse ever showed a sign of illness could be allowed to leave as soon as Saturday, a news release Wednesday said.
But six barns remain under quarantine because horses in them were exposed to the virus. In addition, 39 horses that tested positive are being cared for in an isolation barn.
The virus, called EHV-1, is latent in many horses, but symptoms can emerge periodically, making it contagious. It can cause breathing or brain problems, as well as aborted or unhealthy pregnancies.
Every horse that tested positive will remain isolated until it tests negative, Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain said. Horses that were exposed to the disease but do not test positive will remain quarantined and will be released on a case-by-case basis.
Strain said the same procedure will be followed with 65 horses that were sent in for a race day and may have been exposed in the receiving barn to a horse with the virus.