Georgia Department of Agriculture

First Case of Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy Reported in Georgia


Georgia Department of Agriculture
Gary W. Black, Commissioner
19 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. SW
Atlanta, GA 30334

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Press Release
Thursday, February 04, 2016
Office of Communications

First Case of Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy Reported in Georgia

Georgia has had its first confirmed case of EHV-1, Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy (EHM), a type of equine herpesvirus infection that is highly contagious to other horses and causes severe disease. EHV-1 can cause fever, abortion, respiratory disease and neurologic disease. The virus is species specific, so it does not affect humans, dogs, cats, etc.; however, alpacas and llamas can be affected.

The horse was admitted to the University of Georgia College Of Veterinary Medicine Hospital on January 31, 2016, showing neurological abnormalities. After progressively worsening clinical signs and a poor prognosis, the horse was euthanized. Tests confirm that the horse was positive for EHM.

The Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) State Veterinarian Robert Cobb is working closely with the University of Georgia Large Animal Veterinary Teaching Hospital to alert and provide recommendations for quarantine procedures and exposure protocols. GDA inspectors have been dispatched to all known contacts and have placed quarantines to ensure non movement. At this time, none of the horses have symptoms of EHM. Quarantined premises include the originating premises of the positive horse, a Georgia facility; premises of all equine that were present in the facility at the same time as the positive horse and the Large Animal Veterinary Teaching Hospital equine facilities. Protocols are being developed for monitoring and testing of all horses under quarantine.

Equine owners should practice appropriate biosecurity. The virus can be spread by horse to horse contact and contaminated equipment. Owners should contact their veterinarian if symptoms are present.

For updates and more information about EHV-1, please visit the Georgia Department of Agriculture website at or call GDA’s Animal Health department at 404-656-3667.


About the GDA The Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) is the voice of the state’s agriculture community. The department's mission is to provide excellence in services and regulatory functions, to protect and promote agriculture and consumer interests, and to ensure an abundance of safe food and fiber for Georgia, America, and the world by using state-of-the-art technology and a professional workforce. For more information, visit


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