W.Va. warns horse owners about herpes virus

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Agriculture Commissioner Walt Helmick is urging West Virginia horse owners to step up their biosecurity practices after recent outbreaks of equine herpes in other states.

The infections can cause respiratory disease, abortions, neonatal deaths and neurological diseases.

Cases have been diagnosed recently in California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, Tennessee and Utah.

State Veterinarian Jewell Plumley says biosecurity plans should prevent the transmission of infectious agents by minimizing contact among animals.

Horse owners should consider such things as facility layout, feeding and watering procedures, decontamination protocols and immunizations.

Plumley says the Animal Health Division staff has elevated its regulatory surveillance at events throughout the state.

Exhibitors can help by having health documents up-to-date and accessible.

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