Horses quarantined in Ocala after equine herpesvirus outbreak
A popular horse show in Ocala is under quarantine after six cases of equine herpesvirus were linked to the Marion County showground.
The Florida Department of Agriculture said last week that a quarantine had been issued for the entire venue hosting the Horse Shows in the Sun event, which draws 3,500 horses and their trainers to Ocala each year. The department has also quarantined areas from which horses exposed to the virus had traveled, including about a dozen farms across the state.
According to the state agency, the first case was discovered after a horse showed neurological signs Feb. 20.
The disease, which can be fatal for horses, cannot be passed to humans. The virus is spread through direct horse-to-horse contact or through indirect contact such as feed and water buckets, wipe rags and transportation trailers. Horses at the show will be monitored for signs of illness.
One farm in Seminole County — Brookmore Farm in Oviedo — was among those quarantined in late February. Peggy Stevens, a representative for the farm, said Sunday that her horses were in “unlucky tent No. 7″ along with the affected horse, though her horses are not showing signs of illness. They have agreed to keep the horses at home for 28 days. She will miss four shows but can continue to use the horses for riding lessons.