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Raleigh Horses Treated For Rare Virus

Two horses at play.
goingslo via Flickr Creatibe Commons

State veterinarians are investigating signs of a rare virus in four horses at a north Raleigh farm.  The disease, Equine Herpesvirus-1 -- or EHV-1, is only contracted by horses and cannot affect people.

Tom Ray is director of livestock health programs at the state Department of Agriculture.   He says there are several ways the virus can be spread among horses.

"The highest risk of transmission is nose-to-nose contact," Ray says.  "The virus is shed in nasal secretions so horses that have nose-to-nose contact would be highest risk.  Very close second would be sharing food buckets and water buckets.  Third would be sharing tack or grooming utensils."

Ray says they've shut the affected farm down so they can tend to the animals.  He says while there is no cure, treatment in horses is similar to how a flu virus can be treated in people.

"What we do is run through at least two full incubation periods of the virus," Ray said  "An incubation period is up to 10 to 14 days so we'll run a quarantine for 28 days after the last fever..clinical signs we've seen in any horses.  We don't have any clinical signs..fevers.  We haven't for a week now."

The virus can prompt abortions in mares and also lead to brain and respiratory issues.  EHV-1 at its worst could require a horse to be euthanized to stop the spread.

Gurnal Scott joined North Carolina Public Radio in March 2012 after several stops in radio and television. After graduating from the College of Charleston in his South Carolina hometown, he began his career in radio there. He started as a sports reporter at News/Talk Radio WTMA and won five Sportscaster of the Year awards. In 1997, Gurnal moved on to television as general assignment reporter and weekend anchor for WCSC-TV in Charleston. He anchored the market's top-rated weekend newscasts until leaving Charleston for Memphis, TN in 2002. Gurnal worked at WPTY-TV for two years before returning to his roots in radio. He joined the staff of Memphis' NewsRadio 600 WREC in 2004 eventually rising to News Director. In 2006, Raleigh news radio station WPTF came calling and he became the station's chief correspondent. Gurnal’s reporting has been honored by the South Carolina Broadcasters Association, the North Carolina Associated Press, and the Radio Television Digital News Association of the Carolinas.
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