We began our coverage of the EHV-1 situation in Canada with this report on May 16, and followed it last night, May 17, with You Oughta Know About EHV-1. This afternoon we reached Dr. Gerald Hauer, Chief Provincial Veterinarian of Alberta, and asked him for his thoughts on the situation.
Can we verify there is one confirmed case of EHV-1 in Alberta as of today?
“Yes, we have one confirmed case in Alberta reported to our office. No confirmed deaths, and the reported horse is recovering.”
Is this a reportable disease in Alberta?
“Not reportable. In Alberta there are two classifications – reportable and notifiable. Reportable gets disease control responses. Notifiable helps with monitoring, sending out information. Ordinarily classical EHV-1 is neither. The neurotropic form is notifiable, people need to notify us if they have had this diagnosed in their horse. Our approach is to monitor the situation so we know what is going on, so we can tell horse owners what the situation is.”
Is this a crisis situation?
“Not a crisis, it is something that deserves attention, this virus is the first we have had in Alberta, but it is not a new virus. It does underline the importance of being responsible when it comes to a sick horse, call a vet, don\’t go to the show. Bio-security measures – there are a number of things you can do to reduce the spreading including washing hands, clothes, footwear, not sharing equipment. It is not going to attach to the side of your vehicle, or affect horses you are driving past. Farm to farm transmission would happen if travelling between the two farms, and no bio-security measures.”
Advice regarding attending/cancelling/postponing events?
“Assess the risks, some events are higher risks and it might make sense to cancel them, but there are lots of events that are considered lower risk that would be no reason to cancel. It would be an over-reaction to cancel all horse events.”
Thanks to Jesseca Johanson for conducting this interview!