Thursday, October 11, 2007

Equine Influenza Down Under

Since we learned about the alpha/roller coaster viruses on Tuesday, thought this article about 5 horses in New South Wales who have contracted the Equine Influenza would be appropriate.

New South Wales deputy chief veterinary officer Steve Dunn on Saturday [6
Oct 2007] confirmed that 5 horses near Rosehill racecourse have contracted
equine influenza (EI). Tests came back positive late last night after a
number of horses stabled in the north east corner away from the main
racecourse showed signs of the disease.

Mr Dunn said the sick horses were stabled with a group of 40 horses, but
said every effort would be made to prevent the virus spreading to another
240 horses stabled at the main complex. "This confirmation is another
disappointment for the racing industry, and indeed for everyone working
round the clock to prevent spread of this disease," he said.

"We will be investigating how the disease moved to the Rosehill area. Again
we must stress the importance of people adhering to the movement
restrictions and taking all necessary biosecurity precautions when moving
between horses. We can only successfully manage this outbreak if everybody
does the right thing and follows the movement and biosecurity directions."

Mr Dunn said because the Rosehill racecourse complex and surrounding
stables was located in the red zone, strict quarantine measures were
already in place. All horses in the Rosehill racecourse complex were
vaccinated a week ago [1 Oct 2007], however, as the vaccine takes about 2
weeks to be effective, strict movement controls will be in place to help
give the vaccine the best chance of having an impact. "However, we will now
be adding extra quarantine measures as of first thing this morning to
prevent any further spread of the virus to nearby racehorses, or to any
other area."

Horses at the NSW Department of Primary Industries Elizabeth Macarthur
Agricultural Institute (EMAI)'s Belgenny Farm near Camden have contracted
equine influenza (EI). The historic property had been free of the disease
but recently some horses have returned positive EI tests despite the strict
quarantine measures maintained by staff. Belgenny Farm has 11 horses, all
of which have been moved into a higher level quarantine area away from
public access. The boundaries of this area have been marked by red/white
DPI Quarantine signs.

Belgenny Farm, which is situated on the EMAI property, is a popular
function centre for weddings and other events and as a school education
centre. These functions will not be affected by the EMAI quarantine --
visitor restrictions apply to the farm area only.

EI will not infect other animals or human beings, but the virus may be
carried by people who come into close proximity to an infected horse
thereby spreading the disease to uninfected horses. The public and visitors
are not to approach any horses located within the bounds of EMAI.

If you're interested in learning about the quarantine protocols or the vaccine, here is a link to the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries:


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