Fair Grounds to begin lifting horse quarantines

Fair Grounds to begin lifting horse quarantines

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - State Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain announced that the quarantine at the New Orleans Fair Grounds could end as soon as Saturday.

According to Strain, testing indicated that there are no new cases of the neurological disease known as Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy.  Thirty-nine horses are currently either in quarantine or isolation after testing positive for the virus.

The quarantine will phase out starting with the 42 barns where horses never showed signs of being clinically ill.

All horses that tested positive for EHV-1 will remain in isolation until they test negative for the virus. 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.

"After consulting with the state veterinarian, USDA Veterinary Services, LSU and outside experts on infectious diseases, we feel this is a logical plan to allow the release of unaffected horses," said Strain. "The horses that remain in isolation are most at-risk. We will continue to monitor these horses until they are in the clear. However, should there be another case of EHV-1 or EHM, we will respond accordingly."

Last month a thoroughbred gelding developed a fever and other neurological signs that forced officials to humanely euthanize it.

Racing has continued at the Fair Grounds throughout the quarantine.

The track houses approximately 2000 horses.

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