Two French Horses Test Positive for EHV-1 after 2021 CDI Ornago

Wed, 05/19/2021 - 20:42
The indoor arena at the Malaspina equestrian centre for the 2021 CDI Ornago :: Photo © C. Jawurek

Despite careful safety measures, several horses of the French delegation that competed at the 2021 CDI Ornago have tested positive to EHV-1 at home. 

EHV-1 Outbreaks in Spain and Italy

The EHV-1 outbreaks on the show jumpings tours in Spain (Valencia, Oliva Nova) and Italy (San Giovanni, Gorla Minore). 

On 20 April the Italian Equestrian Federation (FISE) reported that a horse competing at a national jumping show held at the Horse Bridge club in None (200 km from Ornago) was euthanized after testing positive to EHV-1 and showing severe neurological symptoms.  On 6 May Dido Valvassori, member of the veterinary committee of the Piemonte regional equestrian federation, confirmed a second outbreak of EHV-1 in the area after one horse tested positive. The horse showed no signs of illness though.

The FE barred international competition on the European mainland until 11 April 2021.

The 2021 CDI Ornago took place on on 6 - 9 May 2021. 

Positive Horse Brought to CDI Ornago

A turmoil broke out at Ornago on Friday 7 May, when it became known that French Grand Prix rider Morgan Barbançon had left the show on Thursday afternoon after one of her horses at home had tested positive to EHV-1. 

Barbancon had arrived at the show Tuesday 4 May, on Wednesday evening she found a horse at home was positive. On Thursday morning 6 May, the Geneva based Olympian discussed the case with show director Francesco Bortoletto and they mutually decided for her to leave, initially announcing that the departure was for personal reasons. Her three competition horses were tested by the show vet before leaving.

A day later,  Friday 7 May 2021, the results came in that one of Morgan's horses at the show was positive. All competition riders were notified of the outbreak and a barn quarantine was immediately put in place.  All horses in the A-barn were tested and the test results came back Sunday 9 May, all were negative.

A delegation of French riders, not stabled in the A-barn, decided to leave the show grounds early out of precaution. 

EHV-1 Protocol in Ornago

While the FEI has made strict, mandatory rules for Covid-19 with all persons attending a show having to present a negative PCR test upon entry at a venue, the protocols for EHV-1 are much more lenient and show organisations can decide for themselves which protocol they want to adopt. 

The FEI only dictates a mandatory EHV-1 PCR test for competitions with more than 400 horses.

The CDI Ornago only required horses to present a 10-day temperature log before entry, while riders had to sign an oath that they had not been in contact with EHV-1 positive horses.  A negative PCR test for the horses was not required. 

After the weekend in Ornago, Barbancon communicated that she had all her horses retested at home and all came back negative, stating that the three horses must have been "false positives".

Two French Horses Positive at Home

Jean-Philippe Siat's Lovesong in isolation
at home as a precaution
Unfortunately the EHV-1 virus must have spread in Ornago in those three days of exposure between arrival and departure of Morgan's horses. 

On 18 May 2021, the FEI communicated that two horses which were housed in the same barn as a horse that tested positive at the Italian CDI in Ornago have developed fever after returning home..

Horses Blocked in FEI Database

The FEI Veterinary Department considers all horses that were housed in this barn as in-contacts. As a result, a further 24 horses have been blocked in the FEI Database and will need to fulfil specific biosecurity requirements prior to being unblocked. The horses are blocked for a 21-day period starting on day zero (the departure day of Barbancon's horses).

The athletes have been advised and the relevant National Federations have been provided with a list of their blocked horses, plus a list of upcoming entries for these horses.

The three horses (Sir Donnerhall, Deodoro, Black Pearl) that had returned from Ornago to their home base in Switzerland, one of which subsequently tested positive (Black Pearl), were blocked in the FEI Database last week.

The blocked horses have to be temperature checked, do an EHV-1 test today, and a second test seven days later. If they were negative twice they will be unblocked. 

Riders from the Ornago A-barn were notified by the FEI yesterday (18 May) that there horses were blocked in the database. One of them, Simone Pearce, had already competed her Ornago ride Double Joy at last weekend's CDI Grote Brogel in Belgium.

Pearce told Eurodressage that Double Joy was tested for EHV-1 before Ornago, on Saturday at Ornago, and again at home in Germany right after Ornago. All results were negative. Before coming to Belgium, Goran Akerstrom from the FEI veterinary department confirmed she was allowed and good to go. 

Related Links
All Horses Negative to EHV-1 at 2021 CDI Ornago, Return Home Commenced
French Exodus from 2021 CDI Ornago after Barbançon's Horses Test Positive to EHV-1
FEI Blocks 2021 CDI Doha Dressage Horses After Two Jumpers Test Positive to EHV-1
FEI Cancels all European Mainland Events till 28 March 2021 due to EHV-1 Outbreak
Aggressive Strain of EHV-1 in Valencia: "Most Serious EHV-1 Outbreak in Europe for Decades"