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3 Va. counties, Quantico added to equine quarantine

RICHMOND, Va. -- Three counties and Quantico Marine Base have been added to a horse quarantine because of a suspected infection of the neurologic form of equine herpesvirus, officials said Friday.

The quarantine involves 175 horses and includes Virginia Tech's equine medical center in Leesburg. The quarantined counties are Culpeper, Fauquier and Loudoun. A northern Virginia hunt was also canceled as a precaution.

Three horses--one in Fauquier and two Loudoun--have shown neurological signs of EHV-1. The disease has not been confirmed in any of the suspected animals.

The Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center, where the suspected outbreak was first detected, is owned by Virginia Tech and operated as one of three campuses that comprise the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine.

EHV-1, one of several strains of the equine herpesvirus, is a highly contagious disease that attacks the respiratory system. It is spread from infected horses through nasal fluids and bodily secretions. Symptoms include fever, coughing, nasal discharge, loss of balance, urinary retention and recumbency.

EHV-1 poses no known health threat to humans, the Virginia Department of Agriculture said in a statement. It can, however, be spread by clothing, shoes or tack equipment.

Virginia's state veterinarian said the quarantines were a precautionary measure "and do not mean there are sick horses on the premises."

Dr. Richard Wilkes said test results on the suspected animals are expected next week.

Outbreaks are likely to occur where horses are stressed, which is why
outbreaks tend to occur at large shows and vet hospitals.  A big problem with this virus (just as in humans) are latent carriers.  They have no symptoms but when
stressed will begin shedding virus and can easily infect others. 
 I forget the estimate of the percentage of horses who are latent carriers from a previous exposure but it is huge.  Remember that once infected with EVH-1, the horse becomes a carrier for life.  The original infection may have been so minor that it went unnoticed.  Why this sometimes turns into the neurological form I do
not believe is known but to correlate this with human herpes infection, there
are roughly 2000 cases of human herpes encephalitis (simple herpes infection
infecting the brain) per year in the USA. 
For humans we have the drug Acyclovir, but only 38% of those infected will return to normal function.  Without treatment, 70% of humans die. VA was one of several states who had an outbreak a few years ago - ?? 2003.

In all honesty, it is to this vet clinic's tribute that only 3 horses became
One sneeze from an infected horse sends virus as far as 35 feet
through the air.  In addition, feed and water buckets as well as human hands,
clothing and shoes can easily spread it from stall to stall.
To me, this example is just like the recent outbreak in FL - it proves that local vets get the situation under control very quickly.  This alone serves as further proof that NAIS is NOT needed.

Will the USDA try to use it to their advantage?  Probably but WE can use it
as an example of why they are totally INcorrect in their thinking!  This
hospital knew what horses had been potentially exposed and the owners were notified.
An immediate voluntary quarantine was put in place at the first hint this
was a contagious disease. Again, to me, this proves how very responsibly they reacted to what could have been a disaster.
NAIS will do NOTHING to improve this situation because NAIS does not address
the cause of disease.  We already have systems in place to prevent the spread,
as proven in this latest outbreak.
For more up dates go here

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Premises Registration will be an "Official" USDA unique seven Character identifier.
In the New User Guide it states on Page 22:
The premises identification number (PIN) is assigned permanently to a geophysical location. If an owner or entity sells his/her farm, the next operators of the premises use the original premises identification number that had been
assigned to that location. If the seller buys a new location to build a new operation that never had livestock, he/she would register that location and obtain a new premises identification number (PIN).

Premises Identification = Encumbrance

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