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Equine herpes virus outbreak has facilities on alert

Eleven horses in Colorado have been diagnosed with deadly herpes virus in an outbreak that has crossed state lines, causing facilities throughout Colorado to go into lockdown, according to the Colorado Department of Agriculture.Equine herpes virus (EHV-1) is a contagious respiratory and neurological disease that is primarily spread through direct horse-to-horse contact. The disease can also spread through the air or from contaminated equipment and clothing. EHV-1 is not transmittable to humans.The disease cannot be cured, but symptoms can be treated. “The first sign is always a fever,” said Hillary Wood, president of Front Range Equine Rescue. Any horse with signs of the infection should be isolated in a separate enclosure, and owners should immediately contact their veterinarian. The CDA has reported that only two horses have been euthanized because of the disease; nine horses have been diagnosed with EHV-1; and 22 suspected to have contracted the disease ñ officials are waiting on lab results.The outbreak has been limited to counties in Northern Colorado, and no new cases have been recently reported. No matter, precautionary measures have been put in place by local boarding barns and equine facilities.”Last week, we joined a lot of other facilities in a lockdown,” said Rick Schubert, owner of Prairie Springs Farm, a small boarding facility. “We donít want anyone who has been in contact with other horses to come in contact with our horses.”Front Range Equine Rescue will stop intake for up to two weeks. Vantage Point and Desert Sky will temporarily stop accepting new boarders. Latigo Trails has postponed many events, and Colorado State Fair organizers have canceled three equine events.Starting at the beginning of June, Prairie Springs Farm will be accepting new horses. The horses that will be accepted must not come from an affected area and cannot have attended any activities with infected horses.”As long as it stays out of our county, people can feel fairly safe,” Schubert said. “Still, think about any public activity you want to go to and take caution.”On June 4, Latigo Trails Heritage Center will host equine education day. The education day will not be cancelled because horses will not be brought to the event.For daily updates on the outbreak visit,

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