STORRS, Conn. (AP) – The 72 horses in the University of Connecticut’s herd have been quarantined due to an outbreak of equine herpes virus, the school said Tuesday.

UConn is working with the Department of Agriculture to contain the outbreak, which poses no public health threat. Humans cannot get the disease, but they can spread it.

among animals by touching them or using contaminated equipment.

The disease is passed between horses by respiratory discharge. The quarantine, which will last about three weeks after nasal swabs indicate the horses are no longer contagious, is designed to stop the spread of the infection. Veterinarians hope it will be lifted by early March.

Stables are being sanitized regularly and the school has suspended polo practice and coursework directly involving the horses.

A Department of Agriculture sale of rescued horses schedule to take place at the UConn polo arena on Jan. 20 has also been postponed.

Horses usually recover from the disease, which causes respiratory infections in young horses. Recent outbreaks have affected herds in at least 10 states, including California, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Florida.

AP-ES-01-09-07 1553EST