High-Tech Temperature Monitoring in the Management of Infectious Disease Outbreaks
By Dr. Michael Hurley | Posted on October 20, 2021
In a worldwide first, the VetTrue™ System from Epona Biotec has been successfully used in the management of an equine infectious disease outbreak.
A pregnant mare on a Thoroughbred stud farm developed the neurological form of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1). The mare was immediately isolated, but rapidly deterioration over several days, and was euthanised on humane grounds.
EHV-1 is a highly contagious virus and easily spread by direct horse-to-horse contact or by indirect contact with contaminated objects. The stud farm immediately instigated biosecurity measures to contain the spread of the disease. These included segregation of staff and horses, and the mandatory use of PPE by all staff members.
Temperature monitoring during disease outbreaks is important for identifying other infected individuals.
In a novel approach by the stud farm, three stallions and seventeen close contact mares had their temperatures remotely monitored using the VetTrue™ System.
As the incubation period for EHV-1 is very short, further cases would be expected in the week following the first case if the disease were spreading on the farm. A fever is usually the first clinical sign seen with this viral infection, so by screening temperatures closely with the VetTrue™ System the farm could easily identify other infected horses and further isolate and treat them.
Normal temperature charts from four of the horses monitored on the farm
After monitoring the horses for seven days, no fevers were identified and no further horses became ill with EHV-1. The VetTrue™ System gave staff additional assurance in the early days following the first clinical case that the disease was not spreading on the farm.
Fortunately, this was a single isolated case of EHV-1, with the virus most likely contained from spread by the strict biosecurity measures immediately implemented by the farm.
The VetTrue™ System proved time-saving by avoiding the need to take rectal temperatures twice daily, as well as providing a complete record of temperatures for each horse during the monitoring period. Remote monitoring was also of benefit in reducing contact with horses, potentially limiting opportunities for disease transmission and improving biosecurity.
This is the first known report of a remote temperature monitoring system being used in the face of a potential disease outbreak.