NM Livestock Board, Racing Commission Working with Ruidoso Downs on EHV-1 Case

The barn in which the infected horse was residing is under quarantine.

Press release

The New Mexico Livestock Board and Racing Commission are working with Ruidoso Downs on a single confirmed case of EHV-1.

The New Mexico Livestock Board and the New Mexico Racing Commission are working with officials at Ruidoso Downs Racetrack to ensure that a horse-specific virus is limited to the one racehorse confirmed positive late Friday.

The horse was humanely euthanized on Friday night. The barn in which the horse was located at the racetrack is under quarantine – no horses in, no horses out – following confirmation of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV), specifically EHV-1. An adjoining barn is also under quarantine, pending test results.

There are several strains of EHV, none of which are transmissible to humans. The strain confirmed in the horse was the neurotropic form of EHV-1, which can cause severe neurological problems in horses. According to the American Association of Equine Practitioners, EHV-1 is contagious and spread through contact: either directly from horse to horse, or indirectly between horses via their human handlers, feed and water buckets, grooming gear, riding tack and trailers.

In addition to the one-barn quarantine, human foot traffic to and from that barn is being strongly discouraged. Officials will work with horsemen and women to implement other biosecurity measures, including cleaning and disinfecting any surfaces or items horses have or may come into contact with; wearing plastic boot covers, gloves, and other disposable personal protective equipment (PPE); and sanitizing footwear and clothing with Lysol or a similar disinfectant spray. The New Mexico Horsemen’s Association and Ruidoso Downs are providing disinfectant to horsemen and women at the race track at no cost.

Horsemen and women with animals in the one quarantined barn are being asked to take the temperature of their animals twice a day – once in the morning, and again in the evening – to identify any horses with fever. Fever is a primary indicator of EHV-1.

"Because the virus was found in just one horse in one barn, right now there is no reason to discontinue racing at Ruidoso Downs," said Shaun Hubbard, general manager of Ruidoso Downs Racetrack. “All I can say is sanitize, sanitize, sanitize and disinfect, disinfect and disinfect. All biosecurity measures must be in place and enacted.

“With everyone’s help and cooperation, I feel adamant we will continue to have a successful meet," he added.

Officials with the New Mexico Livestock Board, New Mexico Racing Commission and Ruidoso Downs Race Track will continue working together to resolve the issue.

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