A horse in Bottineau County has tested positive for equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy, or EHM, according to the state health department.
EHM is the neurologic form of the equine herpesvirus, or EHV-1.
EHV-1 can spread through the air and on contaminated equipment, clothing and hands. It can cause respiratory disease, abortion, neonatal death and, sometimes, the neurologic form of the disease, EHM, which is afflicting the Bottineau County horse.
Since October, several outbreaks of EHM have been reported in multiple states including Oklahoma, Virginia, Pennsylvania and California.
Although highly infectious and contagious among horses, EHV-1 poses no health threat to humans.
Measures that can reduce the risk of spreading the disease include avoiding shared food or water containers and preventing nose-to-nose contact.
“Horse owners should discuss vaccination strategies and other preventative measures with their veterinarians,” said Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring.
Vaccinations against EHV-1 have been shown to help curb the spread of the disease, and may decrease the severity of an infection.
While no vaccine can completely prevent EHM, vaccinating healthy animals and giving booster vaccinations before travel, competition or boarding is recommended.
Out-of-state horses and other equines entering North Dakota for any length of time must be accompanied by a certificate of veterinary inspection.
“Certificates of veterinary inspection help us better monitor the movement of equines into North Dakota and help determine potential sources of diseases,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Susan Keller.”