Update on confirmed EHV-1 in Europe

BEF EHV-1 update

Measures have been taken by the FEI, in consultation with respective National Federations and Organising Committees, following the confirmed cases of EHV-1 in Mainland Europe in the latter part of February in respect of the confirmed outbreak currently affecting mainland Europe. 

Presently there are nine horses at the University Equine Hospital in Valencia (CEU) for close monitoring, eight of which have, unfortunately, displayed neurological signs. As a preventive measure and to ensure enough treating space, the FEI has ordered 12 temporary boxes to be set up at the hospital grounds in case more horses are brought in.  

This leaves 103 horses remaining in Olivia which have been divided into different groups depending on their health status. The temperature of all horses at the venue is taken two to three times daily, and in the latest report from 1 March, no horse presented fever or any clinical signs. 

Initial safety measures have been implemented in order to avoid further spread of the virus from the venue. Before they are allowed to leave the venue, horses now have to present a first negative sample, followed by a second sample which will be taken 14 days later and a third on day 15. All three samples need to be negative in order for a horse to be released. 


The FEI reports that to then be “un-blocked” in the FEI Database and return to competition, the horses have to fulfil certain health requirements. The mandatory biosecurity measures provide two options – either 21 days isolation with a nasopharyngeal sample taken earliest on Day 21 or alternatively a minimum isolation of 14 days with a first nasopharyngeal sample taken earliest on Day 7 and a second sample taken another seven days later at the earliest. All samples must be analysed by PCR and return negative. The measures also include taking twice-daily rectal temperatures.
Release from isolation can only take place on the advice of a veterinarian, and to be “un-blocked” and have access to FEI Events, the horses will need to comply with all the return to competition protocols and have the restriction lifted by the FEI Veterinary Department. 

Affected horses and each of the 25 in-contact horses from the event are prevented from attending any FEI events until they have fulfilled certain health requirements imposed to minimise any potential transmission of the virus, to both their own horses and the wider horse population.

EHV1 can manifest in four ways: neurological form, respiratory disease, abortion and neonatal death. EHM is most commonly due to mutant or neuropathogenic strains of EHV-1. The most typical causes for horses to contract this virus include Equine Influenza Virus (EIV) – also known as Rhino and Streptococcus equi subspecies equi (S. equi) – better known as strangles. 

In 2021 there was a large outbreak of EHV-1 throughout Europe, which coincidently saw the outbreak begin in Valencia, which sadly concluded in the death of 18 horses in mainland Europe. This outbreak led to a six week shutdown of all international events from 1st March 21 to 11th  April 21 to help minimise the spread of the virus. The FEI completed a comprehensive study which revealed human error, lack of rule compliance and systemic failures which enabled a rapid spread to a effect great many horses.

Seven horses departed from Oliva prior to the first confirmed EHV-1 case, one travelled to Valencia (ESP), four to Vejer de la Frontera (ESP) and two to Doha (QAT). They were immediately isolated on request of the FEI and are currently applying the FEI Return to Competition protocols while in isolation. To date, none of the horses have been reported to present fever or clinical signs.
Six horses returning from Oliva to Limburg (NED) have tested positive for EHV-1 and have been placed in quarantine, where they are being closely monitored.
Unrelated to Oliva, in Vilamoura (POR), two horses with fever were placed in isolation, however, their test results for EHV-1 were negative. 

In view of the current outbreak, the FEI would like to take this opportunity to reiterate the importance of the FEI’s Horse Health Requirements and the necessity to fulfil the Horse Health Requirements via the FEIHorseApp to ensure the maximum safety for all horses competing at international events.
The Horse Health Requirements put in place by the FEI and in accordance with Art. 1027 and 1029 of the FEI 2023 Veterinary Regulations, since 1 January 2022, are a crucial preventative biosecurity tool, and it is of utmost importance that these requirements are consistently applied by all.
All information in relation to the Horse Health Requirements is available on the dedicated Horse Health Requirements hub. Should you have any questions regarding this matter, don’t hesitate to contact the FEI Veterinary Department

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