10/29/2012 11:56AM

Hawthorne: Sixth horse tests positive for equine herpesvirus


A horse at Hawthorne Race Course outside of Chicago that was presumed to have the equine herpesvirus has tested positive for the disease after being isolated from the rest of the backstretch population at the track, according to the track’s state veterinarian.

The horse is the sixth to have tested positive for the highly contagious, sometimes fatal disease since Oct. 14. The horse began showing acute signs of neurological distress on Friday and was immediately quarantined with other horses that have tested positive or displayed symptoms of the disease.

However, Dr. Dawn Folker-Calderon, the state vet at Hawthorne, said that no new cases have arisen since Friday.

“No new temperatures, no new symptoms, so that’s good,” Folker Calderon said on Monday.

Hawthorne remains under an informal quarantine that requires horses to test negative for the disease before entering the grounds. Those precautions will stay in place until all the horses that have been sick or tested positive are negative on re-tests, followed by a 21-period to ensure that no new cases arise.

Over the weekend, Hawthorne drew for eight races for its Thursday card, one fewer race than usual. Nine races were drawn for the Friday card.

Two horses at Hawthorne died after contracting the disease. Four remain in quarantine.