BISMARCK, ND (KXNET) — Equine herpes (EHV-1) has been diagnosed in a Burleigh County horse, the North Dakota Department of Agriculture has confirmed.

The department’s Animal Health Division and the North Dakota State Board of Animal Health say the horse tested positive for equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy, or EHM, which is the neurologic effect of the virus.

EHV-1 is highly infectious and contagious among horses, spreading by direct contact, through the air and from contaminated equipment, clothing and hands.

The virus poses no health risk to humans and circulates primarily among horses.

In addition to the one case in Burleigh County, the virus has been reported in Kentucky, Florida, Massachusetts and California.

By law, any horses entering North Dakota for any length of time must be accompanied by a certificate of veterinary inspection.

Measures that can reduce the risk of spreading the disease include avoiding shared food or water containers and preventing nose-to-nose contact.

“Prevention starts by keeping sick animals at home and being aware of the risk factors while traveling and competing,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Ethan Andress.

The North Dakota Department of Agriculture notes EHV-1 can cause respiratory disease, abortion, neonatal death and sometimes the neurologic form of the disease, EHM. Current EHV-1 vaccines may reduce viral shedding but are not protective against the neurologic form of the disease.

“These incidents serve as a reminder to work with your local veterinarian on preventive programs for all species,” Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said.