74 Parx casino horses quarantined after positive herpes test

Horses and jockeys coming down the final stretch to the finish line at Parx Casino and Racing in Bensalem, PA on September 14, 2013. (Colin Kerrigan / Philly.com)

Seventy-four horses housed at the Parx Casino racetrack in Bensalem were quarantined earlier this week after one horse tested positive for a type of equine herpes virus, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

The horses, located in barns 19 and 32 of the racetrack, were quarantined Saturday as a precautionary measure. Officials said Tuesday that, while no other horses had shown signs of illness, they had been exposed to the positive horse during the past several weeks.

The affected horses must be kept separate from the rest of the track for at least 21 days before the quarantine can be lifted, according to the agriculture department.

Officials said Equine Herpesvirus Type 1, for which the horse tested positive, can manifest in respiratory or neurological impairment and is, in most cases, only mildly contagious. The virus does not pose a threat to human health.

A quarantine order at the same track was lifted in January after horses that were diagnosed with Equine Herpesvirus two months prior tested negative.

Horse owners with concerns are asked to call the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Animal Health and Diagnostic Services at 717-772-2852.

Contact Alex Wigglesworth at 215-854-2305 or awigglesworth@philly.com. Follow @phila_lex on Twitter.

Contact the Breaking News Desk at 215-854-2443; BreakingNewsDesk@philly.com. Follow @phillynews on Twitter.