An equine disease that can cause severe neurological problems in horses has been found in five horses at the Sunland Park Racetrack, leading to several barns being put under quarantine. Confirmation that EHV-1 was present in several horses at Sunland Park was made on Thursday.

The American Association of Equine Practitioners say EHV-1 is contagious and can spread through contact: either directly from horse to horse, or indirectly via human handlers, feed and water buckets, grooming gear, riding tack, and trailers.

Biosecurity measures are now being taken at Sunland Park, and horses that are suspected of having the virus are being tested at the New Mexico Department of Agriculture's Veterinary Diagnostic Services laboratory in Albuquerque.

Sunland Park officials say they are taking steps to control the potential spread of the virus, including postponing racing for an initial period of 14 days. Horsemen who have recently had horses at Sunland Park Racetrack are advised to contact their veterinarian for medical questions and to contact the Livestock Board for quarantine questions.