For Immediate Release
Wellington, FL – March 3, 2021 – In light of new information that Equestrian Sport Productions (ESP) received this morning regarding a positive Equine Herpes Virus-1 case in the Ocala area, management is taking active measures to protect horses at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) and Equestrian Village during the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) and Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF). There are currently no reported cases of EHV-1 in Wellington.
The following announcements regarding biosecurity protocols and requirements are as follows:
1. Due to this development, ESP will not be accepting entries from horses that have not previously shown this year at WEF and AGDF starting immediately on Wednesday, March 3, until further notice. Decisions regarding lifting this rule will be made following consultation with USEF, the State of Florida Department of Agriculture Division of Animal Industry, and WEF/AGDF Official Veterinarians, Palm Beach Equine Clinic.
2. Although no known positive cases of horses have been identified in Wellington, ESP is attempting to control transmission of the EHV-1 virus by restricting access to the PBIEC and Equestrian Village showgrounds of horses from outside the immediate vicinity of Wellington.
Following veterinary advice, anyone shipping horses into the PBIEC and Equestrian Village facilities will be required to sign a declaration stating that the horses entering the facility have not competed at other Florida venues or been in close contact with horses that competed in other Florida venues within ten (10) days prior to their arrival.
3. Starting Monday, March 8, any horses shipping onto the property (both WEF and AGDF grounds) will require a health certificate or statement on official licensed veterinarian letterhead and must be dated by Veterinarian within seven (7) days of arriving (see number 6 below).
4. ESP will require all barns on PBIEC and Equestrian Village show grounds to maintain a temperature log with twice-daily temperatures recorded and recommend posting on each horse’s stall door. Random checks by approved veterinary staff may be implemented.
5. ESP and USEF strongly recommend that equestrians do not ship horses throughout the state for the foreseeable future. In addition, we encourage you to cease any European imports you may have scheduled to Florida. We urge those with recently imported horses to isolate and monitor them for 10 days. Horses imported from Europe in the last 14 days and going forward will not be allowed into PBIEC or Equestrian Village show grounds.
6. A Statement of Health must be signed by a licensed veterinarian within 7 days of arrival at PBIEC, documenting that the horse has:
– Received regular and consistent vaccination against Equine Influenza and EHV-1/4 with most recent booster being within 180 days (as per USEF GR 845) and not within 7 days. Under no circumstances should a horse that has been vaccinated compete within 7 days.
– Not shown symptoms of or been treated for EHV-1/4 within the past 28 days.
– Not been at a facility under quarantine for EHV-1/4 or exposed to any horses showing symptoms of EHV-1/4 within the past 28 days
– Current vaccination against WNV, EEE, WEE, Tetanus and Rabies is strongly recommended
Information on the current known positive EHV-1 case can be found here: https://equinediseasecc.org/alerts.
Given the seriousness of the EHV-1 outbreak in Europe (the case in Ocala is similar in nature but unrelated to the neurological strain of EHV-1 impacting Valencia, Spain, and other European countries), which has unfortunately resulted in multiple horse deaths, ESP implores everyone to do their part in order to keep your own horses safe, as well as those of your fellow competitors.
Any horse on the show grounds with a fever of unknown origin or of suspicious origin must be reported to ESP Management. It is always better to err on the side of safety. Isolation stalls will either be available on the grounds or at a local veterinary practice if the need arises.
It is our shared responsibility to keep our horses safe. Similar to the suggested protocols in place for humans due to COVID-19, we urge all equestrians to please remember and abide by the following biosecurity measures:
– Take all horses’ temperature daily and report any horse with a temperature above 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit or any signs of respiratory or neurological disease to your veterinarian and/or show management
– Take the temperature of all horses prior to shipping to WEF or AGDF, and do not bring any febrile horses to the show
– Avoid mixing of horses where possible, practice equine ‘social distancing’
– Ensure good hygiene and biosecurity at the show and your home farms
– Make sure your horses are currently vaccinated for influenza and EHV. Under no circumstances should a horse that has been vaccinated compete within 7 days.
– You should be able to document your horse’s normal temperature before arrival. Please do not ship horses with elevated temperatures. It is recommended that you establish a log of temperatures taken at least twice daily. If there is an elevated temperature for more than a 24-hour period, please consult your local Veterinarian immediately
– Every effort should be made to minimize stress and commingling of horses shipped long distances. Extra hours on a horse van or moving from stable to stable is the fastest way to compromise your horses’ and your neighbor’s horses’ health
– Please take the time to review equine good hygiene practices and impress their importance to your grooms and barn managers in everyday care
Further biosecurity protocols and additional resources can be found here:
United States Department of Agriculture Information on Equine Herpesvirus
ESP has longstanding protocols to manage such events and will provide isolation facilities if and as required. Experience has taught us that early identification is key when dealing with disease outbreaks, and this requires cooperation from everyone within the community.
If you have any questions or concerns about your horse’s health, please contact our veterinary partners: Palm Beach Equine Clinic at 561-793-1599.