BHA statement on identified case of Equine Herpes Virus

01 Jun 2017 Welfare

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA), alongside the National Trainers Federation (NTF), has issued a notice to licensed trainers that a case of Equine Herpes Virus-1 (EHV-1) in the form of equine neurological disease has been confirmed by Rossdales Laboratories in a licensed training yard.

The yard affected is that of Kevin Ryan. Only one horse is currently known to have been affected. The BHA is working with Mr Ryan, his staff and veterinary surgeon to ensure that the correct disease control measures are in place. These measures include increased biosecurity, further testing and a quarantine stop on the premises. As a result, the BHA has placed a temporary stop on Mr Ryan’s yard which prevent him from making declarations for races in Britain until further notice.

Two further yards, those of Bryan Smart and Michael Herrington, have also been quarantined as a precaution due to the close proximity of the yards and the sharing of horseboxes. No diagnosed cases have been identified at either yard, but the temporary measure has been put in place in the interests of risk control.

David Sykes, Director of Equine Health and Welfare for the BHA, said:

“Cases of the neurological form of EHV-1 are occasional and, while the disease can be extremely serious for the affected horses, with proper surveillance and disease control the virus can usually be effectively contained.

“While the risk of the virus being transmitted in a controlled raceday environment is relatively small, it is in theory possible that horses from the yard in question may have been infectious some time before the disease was diagnosed. For this reason we have taken measures to alert trainers, as well as racecourses and veterinary surgeons, to be vigilant to the clinical signs.

“The decision to close the further yards is based on the identification of risk factors, namely the proximity of yards and the sharing of horse boxes. These measures have been taken as a precaution, with the safety of the horse population very much in mind.”

All potentially affected parties are being advised to refer to the NTF Code of Practice for Infectious Diseases of Racehorses in Training, the Animal Health Trust website and the recently launched Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) “EquiBioSafe” app for guidance on surveillance for the disease and steps to take should any symptoms or risks be identified. These steps include immediately contacting David Sykes on 07917 424224 and ensuring that the horse is not moved from the premises.

Notes to Editors

  1. Equine herpes virus is a common virus that occurs in horse populations worldwide. The two most common strains are EHV-1 and EHV-4. Both strains can cause respiratory disease, particularly in the younger population, but will also cause abortion in brood mares and EHV-1 can also cause un-coordination, paralysis and death. This is known as EHV-1 Paralytic/neurological Form.
  2. The NTF Code of Practice for Infectious Diseases of Racehorses in Training can be found here
  3. The Animal Health Trust’s guidance on EHV can be found here:
  4. More information about the EquiBioSafe app can be found here: