Effective immediately, the Maryland Jockey Club has banned horses shipping from Florida from entering the grounds at Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course.
The ban will continue “until further notice,” the track’s notification said.
According to the Equine Disease Communication Center, on February 29 “a confirmed EHV 1 (equine herpesvirus) neurotrophic strain with consistent clinical signs [was] confirmed in Martin County, Florida.”
The EDCC said that, though only a single case had thus far been confirmed, the entire facility had been placed under quarantine because of the highly contagious nature of the disease. It can lead to a variety of ailments, including respiratory disease and myeloencephalopathy, a degenerative condition affecting the brain and spinal cord.
According to the EDCC, the horse which tested positive had been imported from Virginia and had traveled in a van with other horses that had come from South Carolina.
Martin County is on Florida’s east coast between Port St. Lucie and Palm Beach, north of south Florida’s two Thoroughbred tracks, Gulfstream Park and Calder Race Course, which runs as Gulfstream Park West.