12/26/2016 9:42PM

Horse tests positive for equine herpesvirus at Fair Grounds


A horse stabled at Fair Grounds tested positive for equine herpesvirus Monday, Fair Grounds senior director of racing Jason Boulet confirmed Monday night.

Boulet said representatives from the Louisiana Department of Agriculture were scheduled to arrive at Fair Grounds early Tuesday morning to assess the situation, which is likely to lead to various quarantine protocols.

Boulet generally declined to provide details about the positive test before state officials were present, but confirmed that horses stabled in the barn that housed the horse that tested positive already have been segregated from the general Fair Grounds equine population.

Multiple other sources said the directly affected area was barn 14, which is located just across a road from the half-mile gap onto the racetrack.

A source with knowledge of the situation said the horse that tested positive after showing herpes-like symptoms died Sunday.

Fair Grounds, which was dark Christmas Eve and Christmas, raced Monday.

Equine herpesvirus, or EHV, is widespread among horse populations worldwide. Most animals never express symptoms of the virus. The EHV-1 strain is most often responsible for infections at racetracks and can produce neurologic and upper-respiratory symptoms. At its most severe, it can prove fatal. Horses generally only are contagious when symptomatic since the virus spreads through nasal secretions. The virus can be transmitted through indirect contact with objects contaminated by secretions.