ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Quarantines on barns at Pimlico Race Course could start to be lifted next week, a state veterinarian said Friday.
An outbreak of equine herpes prompted the quarantine at Pimlico, where three horses have been euthanized, and led several states to ban the shipment of horses into or from Maryland.
Since the new year, 11 horses at Pimlico have tested positive for the virus. Besides the three euthanized horses, eight horses are currently in isolation. Barns 5, 6 and A are in isolation from the general population after having horses show symptoms of the potentially deadly virus.
Racing was canceled at Laurel Park on Sunday and Feb. 5 because of a shortage of entries caused by the quarantine of 500 horses at Pimlico and restrictions on the movement of horses in and out of the state.
Laurel will hold races four days a week, Wednesday through Saturday.
The disease, which doesn't affect humans, can cause upper respiratory infections in horses as well as neurological symptoms that may affect the ability to walk and run.
Guy Hohenhaus, the state's top veterinarian, said no new cases have been reported at Barn 5 in almost three weeks and state officials are "beginning a testing protocol, where we can hopefully clear that barn sometime next week, provided the results come back all negative on the horses."
If they aren't all negative, Hohenhaus said the state would clear horses one at a time.