USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will partially reopen the Miami Animal Import Center’s (MAIC) horse quarantine facility on March 11, 2019, after completing a thorough cleaning and disinfection. On January 19, 2019, the facility was closed to new arrivals, after a handful of horses quarantined at the facility became sick.
At the time, veterinary experts suspected salmonella as the cause of illness, however, subsequent testing has not identified any causative disease agent present in the Center. APHIS officials took more than 180 environmental samples at the facility and all were negative for salmonella. In addition, they tested the affected animals for a variety of diseases, such as E. coli, Equine Influenza, Equine Herpesvirus, Aeromonas caviae, Torovirus, Coronavirus, Lawsonia intracellularis, Neorickettsia risticii, and Clostridium ssp and toxins. This testing has not pin pointed the cause of illness.
In total, eight horses quarantined at the MAIC became sick between December 17, 2018, and January 25, 2019, and all eight showed signs of lameness and received immediate medical treatment. Four of the horses died and the other four recovered. On January 16, 2019, APHIS announced the temporary closure of the MAIC as a precautionary measure, but horses under quarantine were allowed to complete their stay at the facility.
Beginning, March 11, 2019, the MAIC will reopen three horse bays with a total of 36 stalls to provide quarantine services. The remaining four horse bays, with a total of 48 stalls, will remain closed while the flooring is replaced. The MAIC has a long history of safely quarantining imported horses upon arrival in the United States. APHIS’ number one priority is the horses’ health.
The MAIC also has a separate quarantine area for birds. While no birds became sick, out of an abundance of caution, APHIS made the decision to close the avian quarantine facility for thorough cleaning and disinfection. The avian portion of the quarantine facility is expected to reopen in late March.