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Horse Herpes Contained in Arizona and Other Western States

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he horse herpes that has plagued Arizona equine for more than a month has been contained, according to the Arizona Department of Agriculture.

In mid-May, the ADA announced that an Arizona horse tested positive for the Equine Herpes Virus.

The horse, ADA officials say, probably contracted the disease at the National Cutting Horse Association's Western National Championships held in Ogden, Utah April 30-May 8. Health officials in other states in the West -- Utah, Idaho, Colorado, California, and New Mexico -- also reported suspected cases of horse herpes infection in horses that were at the Ogden event.

The symptoms of horse herpes may include a fever, nasal discharge, "wobbly gait," hind-end weakness, dribbling of urine, and diminished tail tone. According to the Department of Agriculture, transmission of horse herpes occurs by direct or indirect contact with infective nasal discharges, aborted fetuses, placentas, or placental fluids.

In total, the herpes outbreak infected 90 horses in 10 states, 14 of which were in Arizona.

At the time of the outbreak, Acting State Veterinarian Dr. John Hunt told New Times he recommends that any horse with symptoms be placed in isolation, which led to the closure of the Horseshoe Park & Equestrian Centre in Queen Creek.

The isolation of suspect horses, health officials say, is what helped contain the virus. 

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