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Horse Virus Outbreak Slows in Colorado

Photo by Kirk Siegler
Extra attention has been given to horses at this quarantined facility near Fort Lupton, in light of the EHV-1 outbreak.

Colorado officials say the spread of a deadly horse virus that’s shut down rodeos and horse shows across the state and country appears to be slowing.  There have been nine confirmed and 22 suspected cases of the Equine Herpes Virus in Colorado.  But a new case hasn’t been detected for two weeks.  EHV-1 is not a threat to humans but it spreads easily among horses.  Two Colorado horses that attended an event in Utah where the outbreak began have had to be euthanized.  But in the past two weeks in Colorado, no new facilities have been quarantined. 

Assistant State Veterinarian Dr. Nick Striegel called that encouraging Friday.

"That’s a good thing," he said.  "I think that speaks a lot to the containment and control of the EHV virus disease in Colorado."

But Striegel cautioned that doesn’t mean horse owneres should let their guard down.  Numerous quarantine orders are still in place including at facilities in Boulder, Weld and Larimer counties. 

In southern Colorado, state officials this week lifted an order at the Canon City Fairgrounds.  Officials there told the Associated Press the apparent slowing of the disease have put risks low enough to return to business as usual. 

Kirk Siegler reports for NPR, based out of NPR West in California.
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