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Rockingham Co. horse quarantined due to virus

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RALEIGH, N.C. — A Rockingham County horse has been quarantined after being diagnosed with a highly contagious virus.

The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services identified the virus at equine herpesvirus, or EHV-1. It is the first case in North Carolina, though it has gone through several states over the past decade, state agriculture officials said.

While contagious among horses, the virus does not affect people, state agriculture officials said.

It often causes respiratory infection in young horses, but the strain in the Rockingham County horse caused neurologic problems. The virus also can cause abortion in pregnant horses or even neonatal death.

The horse is being held at NC State’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

Ways to protect horses from EHV-1 are to disinfect water and feed buckets, stalls and trailers, as well as to isolate new horses or those returning from shows for three weeks, state agriculture officials said.