- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 26, 2015

WARRENVILLE, Ill. (AP) - Horses shows have been called off in Illinois to stop the spread of infection after agriculture officials said two horses from a northeastern Illinois stable tested positive earlier this month for the equine herpes virus.

Other horses at the same stable had symptoms of the contagious virus. Illinois State Veterinarian Mark Ernst said two horses were euthanized and a third horse has shown neurological problems from the infection, the Chicago Tribune reported (https://trib.in/1KiKmIP ).

The virus commonly known as EHV-1 can cause respiratory problems, abortion, neurological disease and death in newborns. Humans are not at risk. The state agriculture department is aware of one stable where horses were infected. It’s not clear how the animals were exposed.

“People take it seriously, but you don’t need to go overboard,” Ernst said. “There’s no indication that we have a full-scale outbreak on our hands.”

The infected horses were performing at a Midwest Reining Horse Association event May 2-3 in Gifford in east-central Illinois when they started showing symptoms, Ernst said. Gifford is about 25 miles northeast of Champaign.

The facility that hosted the event has closed for three weeks to disinfect and has canceled shows. Forest preserve officials in DuPage County also canceled horse-related activities at St. John Farm in Warrenville.

“Although we are not aware of any cases in DuPage County, we’re proceeding proactively to prevent the further spread of this deadly equine disease,” forest preserve President Joe Cantore said.

Ernst said stables generally can resume operations after 28 days without a horse showing symptoms.

“You have to decide how much risk you want to take with your animal,” Ernst said. “Is it worth it, or is it going to worry you so much that it’s probably better to stay home?”

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Information from: Chicago Tribune, https://www.chicagotribune.com

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