Fort Collins--State and federal agriculture officials appear to have contained the spread of a potentially deadly equine herpes virus outbreak, which has been reported in 15 states. EHV-1 is an airborne, neurological variation of the herpes virus and is commonly spread though nose-to-nose contact with infected horses.
While the outbreak shows signs of being contained, it has still taken a costly toll on states like Colorado, where the equine industry is valued at $1.6 billion. Travel restrictions aimed at preventing the spread of the virus have resulted in the cancellation of numerous horse-related events and auctions in affected states. With venues so tightly booked, rescheduling is often impossible and businesses do not get the opportunity to recoup losses.
“Basically, they’ve shut down the traffic of horses and many events,” said Jerry Black, director of the undergraduate equine sciences program at Colorado State University. State and federal officials continue to urge horse owners to keep a watchful eye over their horses and report any horse showing symptoms of EHV-1 to state officials.