A large equine infectious anemia (EIA) outbreak has claimed the lives of 40 Arkansas horses. The outbreak has hopefully been contained to one farm in Johnson County. Two horses on the farm died from this viral disease, while 38 others were euthanized, presumably because they tested positive. Approximately 40 other horses are on the farm, and are presumably negative (at this time).
So far, the outbreak seems to be limited to this single farm. There is one neighbouring farm, which is being investigated to see if the insect-borne disease has spread. The affected farm does not show horses or ‘sell any horses to any extent,’ so hopefully the odds of the outbreak being contained are good.
A big question remains unanswered and is critical for determining whether this outbreak will be controlled: Where did the virus come from? Viruses don’t just spontaneous pop out of nowhere (although sometimes it seems that way at first) – there had to be source of infection, and that source could have spread it elsewhere. With the large number of positive horses on this farm, it’s concerning that the virus could have been introduced a while ago, and the longer the time frame, the harder it is to both track and control.