02/24/2007 12:00AM

NYRA bans some shippers to prevent herpesvirus


New York became the third state to place restrictions on horses shipping in from four Mid-Atlantic states due to concerns that horses in those states may have been exposed to equine herpesvirus, a highly contagious neurological disease.

On Saturday, the New York Racing Association announced that horses originating from Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware will be denied entry into a NYRA track until further notice.

These restrictions came one day after Charles Town Races in West Virginia and Penn National Racecourse in Pennsylvania put in similar bans. Charles Town's restrictions involved banning horses that have been in Maryland or Virginia since Feb. 1.

The restrictions were adopted after a mare that had been treated at the Marion duPont Equine Medical Center in Leesburg, Va., had to be put down on a Virginia farm due to equine herpesvirus, said Dr. Anthony Verderosa, NYRA's chief examining veterinarian.

"There's now a lot of potential exposures all over those four states," Verderosa said. "We're just doing this as a precaution to see if anything becomes apparent in those four states in the next week or two, and if it doesn't it'll just fizzle out."

Verderosa said that a barn at Charles Town has been quarantined because of potential exposure.

"They don't have any cases," he said. "Everybody's just being very cautious."