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angle-left Equine Influenza (EI) cases in Europe

Equine Influenza (EI) cases in Europe

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA), has taken the decision to cancel racing at all British racecourses since Thursday 7 February 2019. This is following the BHA being informed by the Animal Health Trust, Newmarket, of three confirmed Equine Influenza positives from vaccinated horses in an active racing yard. The outbreak at the infected yard follows the identification of a number of equine influenza cases across Europe and the UK, including several in vaccinated horses.

The fact that the cases have been identified in vaccinated horses presents a cause for significant concern over welfare and the potential spread of the disease.

Equine influenza is a highly infectious disease of horses, mules and donkeys occurring globally caused by strains of Influenza A virus. It is the most potentially damaging of the respiratory viruses that occur in equines and disease symptoms in non–immune animals include high fever, coughing and nasal discharge.

Unlike other infectious diseases EI can be airborne over reasonable distances as well as be transmitted indirectly, including via people. There are no known consequences for humans associated with exposure to the disease.

Following the recent outbreaks we recommend:

  • that any trainer who has concerns about the health status of any of their horses should contact the Equine Veterinary Clinic (EVC) Veterinary Team (Director M. Fotiadis, 6932722955
  •  all horses which have not had a vaccination against Equine Influenza within the last six months should receive an additional/booster vaccination for free at the Equine Veterinary Clinic
  • trainers, grooms, and all other persons in contact with horses, should be diligent with maintenance of cleanliness and hygiene
  • that trainers should be extra-vigilant with biosecurity (horse and people movement/contact)
  • daily monitoring and record keeping of temperature measurements for all horses under trainers care

The racecourse will enforce strict biosecurity protocols during this time in order to ensure the prophylaxis from disease and welfare of all horses in the racecourse. Suspect horses will be held in isolation to be closely monitored.

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