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For Immediate Release: April 15, 2011
Contact: Lynne Richmond 
(609) 633-2954

(TRENTON) – The New Jersey Department of Agriculture has quarantined a second Colts Neck horse farm as part of its investigation into an outbreak of the neurologic form of Equine Herpes Virus, Type One (EHV-1) that has led to the death of one horse and sickened five others.

The disease was discovered by a private veterinarian treating a sick horse at Overbrook Farm.  The filly was euthanized by the veterinarian on April 13 after she failed to respond to treatment.  Her five barn mates are recovering from their illnesses.

The Department’s tracing activities at the farm to determine the extent of the outbreak led to today’s quarantine of Tourelay Farm.  No sick horses have been reported at the farm at this time. 

Overbrook Farm was quarantined yesterday, meaning horse movement on and off the property has ceased and only essential farm personnel are allowed access to limit the spread of the virus.  Those personnel must utilize biosecurity measures, such as disinfectant foot baths, coveralls, disposable gloves, hand washing and disinfectant hand gels, and non-sharing of tack between horses.  The quarantine is expected to last 21 days, unless more horses become ill.  All quarantines are based on risk assessment.

The Department has been in contact with Colts Neck Township officials to keep them informed of the efforts to contain the virus and protect animals.

The EHV-1 virus spreads quickly from horse to horse, has a high morbidity and can cause a wide range of symptoms, from a complete lack of clinical signs to respiratory problems, especially in young horses, and spontaneous abortions in pregnant mares.  The neurologic form of EHV-1, additionally, can cause an acute paralytic syndrome, which results in a high mortality. The incubation period of EHV-1 is typically 2 to 10 days.  The virus spreads readily through direct contact with infected materials.

The virus does not affect humans and other domestic animals, with the exception of llamas and alpacas.

Concerned owners should consult their veterinarian prior to taking any action as the clinical signs of infection with the neurological form of EHV-1 are common to many other diseases. The neurologic form of EHV is a reportable disease in New Jersey.  For more information about the disease, visit

If an owner has a horse that is exhibiting neurologic signs or suspects Equine Herpes, they are directed to call their veterinarian immediately.  

The NJDA Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory provides testing for the neurologic form of EHV-1.  For more information, visit