Media advisory: Experts available to discuss equine herpesvirus after Colorado horse euthanized

Equine infectious disease experts at Colorado State University are available to discuss with reporters the dangers of equine herpesvirus (EHV-1) and how to prevent potentially fatal infection among horses, especially those traveling to rodeos, clinics, horse shows and other events this spring and summer.

On Wednesday morning, the Colorado Department of Agriculture State Veterinarian’s Office announced that a suspected case of equine herpes myeloencephalitis, caused by EHV-1, tested positive, as confirmed by the CSU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratories. The horse was euthanized after developing severe neurological symptoms.

The horse recently had been at junior rodeo events in Henderson, Eagle and Rocky Ford, Colo., signaling the potential for infectious disease in other horses at these events.

A second horse, housed on the same property with the horse that tested positive, is showing early signs of illness, the State Veterinarian’s Office said.

As horses travel to summer equine events, it’s critical to understand the virus, how it spreads, signs of illness – and, most important, biosecurity steps to prevent this dangerous infectious disease.

The following CSU experts are available Friday for interviews on these topics:

• Dr. Jerry Black, equine veterinarian and director of the CSU Equine Sciences Program and Equine Reproduction Laboratory. Black is a contributor to the National Equine Health Plan, designed to help the horse industry anticipate and respond to infectious disease outbreak.

• Dr. Paul Morley, veterinarian and expert in epidemiology and biosecurity. Morley is director of biosecurity for CSU’s James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital and has investigated patterns of disease occurrence, evaluating risk factors and methods of disease prevention.

Available later:

• Dr. Josie Traub-Dargatz, a veterinarian in equine internal medicine who specializes in population-based studies of equine infectious diseases and disease-control methods. Traub-Dargatz conducts training in biosecurity for equine facilities and veterinary hospitals; she also conducts field-based studies of outbreaks of equine infectious diseases

To set up an interview, contact Jeff Dodge at (970) 491-4251 or