The New Jersey Department of Agriculture's Division of Animal Health today announced the quarantines of five Monmouth County farms and one Gloucester County farm as the investigation continues into a possible Equine Herpes Virus (EHV) outbreak.
Two horses at Sweet Dreams Farm, 463 Casino Dr., Farmingdale, were euthanized with clinical signs consistent with the neurological form of EHV-1, and another died with similar signs. Two horses had presumptive positive tests for the disease and confirmatory testing continues.
While EHV is not harmful to humans, the neuropathogenic form of the disease is often fatal to horses and is spread quickly from horse to horse.
"Quarantines are necessary to ensure that this serious disease does not spread," said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher. "Our investigation is continuing as we work to protect the health and safety of horses in New Jersey and other states."
Included in the quarantine are Never Ends Farm, 384 Conover St., Howell; 266 Lanes Mill Road, Howell; Riata Man Ranch, 27 West Farms Rd., Howell; 43 Charleston Springs Rd., Millstone; and 780 Heritage Rd., Sewell. These locations were placed under quarantine due to high risk contact with Sweet Dreams Farm or having received a horse from Sweet Dreams.
Investigations have concluded at Camelot Auction Company in Middlesex County and Handy Acres Farm in Ocean County and they were not included in the quarantine.
Equine Herpes Virus can cause respiratory problems, especially in young horses, spontaneous abortions in pregnant mares, and the neurologic form of the virus can reach high morbidity and mortality rates. The incubation period of EHV-1 clinically affected horses is typically 2 to 10 days, but in apparent infections may be spread for 21 days.
The Division of Animal Health Laboratory can test horses for EHV, either through a nasal swab or blood sample. Veterinarians should call (609) 984-2293 for further testing information.
The Department has a fact sheet on simple disinfection protocol for EHV-1 at www.state.nj.us/agriculture/pdf/simpledisinfectionprotocolEHV.pdf.
The Division of Animal Health can be reached at (609) 292-3965 with any questions or concerns.