Kentucky Strangles Outbreak: Total Of Seven Horses Across Three Premises Confirmed Positive - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Kentucky Strangles Outbreak: Total Of Seven Horses Across Three Premises Confirmed Positive

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture is continuing to monitor an outbreak of strangles which began with a 3-year-old Thoroughbred filly at the Thoroughbred Training Center in Fayette County, Ky., according to an update posted to the Equine Disease Communication Center's website on Saturday afternoon.

Last week, an epidemiologic investigation indicated the potential for strangles to reach a total of three facilities: the Thoroughbred Training Center, Keeneland Race Course, and Triple Diamonds Training Center on Russell Cave Road. One unnamed trainer housed horses at all three facilities.

Saturday's update revealed that a total of seven individual horses have been confirmed positive for the strangles-causing organism Streptococcus equi subsp equi. The Kentucky Department of Agriculture is continuing to monitor and test multiple horses under the care of several trainers at each of the three premises.

According to E.S. “Rusty” Ford, equine operations consultant for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture's Office of the State Veterinarian, no unauthorized persons are permitted to enter the quarantined barns at the three facilities. Horses in those barns are being permitted to train after regular training hours when other horses have cleared the racetrack. Ford said Monday that trainers are encouraged to teach staff good biosecurity protocols to avoid disease transmission between horses in the impacted barns in case additional horses begin shedding the .

Ford said horses that have tested positive have been removed from their barns and are isolating off-site. The horses that remain in their barns at the three facilities are those who have tested negative. Samples were taken from several of those horses Monday morning to see if their status had changed, and at least one more round of samples will need to test negative before the quarantined horses could potentially be released.

The full update from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture is as follows:

Premises 3: Results of the testing completed on the twenty-seven (27) horses at Triple Diamonds Training Center (aka Three Diamonds on Russell Cave Road) did identify two (2) additional positive horses. These horses were under the care of the same trainer having positives on premises one (1) and two (2). The two (2) positive horses and the trainer's other six (6) horses were all moved offsite to the private quarantine facility. Nineteen (19) horses under the care of a second trainer were all found negative. Horses in this affected barn will remain under quarantine, are being monitored daily for any signs of illness and will be resampled.
“Additionally, two horses for the single trainer that had originally tested negative by PCR the day they were moved offsite from Premises 2 (Keeneland), have subsequently been confirmed positive by culture on specimens collected from enlarged mandibular lymph nodes. The fact both of these horses were PCR negative on nasal pharyngeal washes collected at the time of departure from Keeneland, provides additional evidence and confidence the disease-causing organism, Streptococcus equi subsp equi, was not being shed at that time.
“Assessment of the exposed horses remaining on the three identified premises this morning found all horses to be bright, alert, eating and afebrile. We are continuing to review the health status of these horses daily and will be collecting additional diagnostic tests during the upcoming week.”

The upper respiratory disease commonly referred to as strangles is caused by Streptococcus equi subsp equi. Strangles is spread from horse to horse through direct contact. Horses can also contract the disease by coming into contact with contaminated surfaces. The disease is highly infectious.

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