Equine Influenza

Discussion in 'Equine Influenza' started by Lin, Aug 27, 2007.

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  1. mod 6

    mod 6 Moderator

    What is equine influenza? | NSW Department of Primary Industries
    what is equine flu? now includes video

    Restricted Area announced for Ku-ring-gai/Warringah




    11 Sep 2007
    A new Restricted Area (RA) for Ku-ring-gai/Warringah has been established following positive tests for Equine Influenza (EI) on properties at Belrose and Terrey Hills.
    The number of RAs across NSW now stands at 27.
    This new RA extends to all boundaries of the Ku-ring-gai and Warringah Local Government Areas.
    NSW deputy chief veterinary officer Ian Roth reminded horse owners that movement requirements in Restricted Areas are more stringent than elsewhere in the State.
    ‘’There remains a standstill on all horse movements across the whole State,’’ he said.
    ‘’Within the Restricted Area there is ALSO a standstill on the movements of horse transport vehicles and horse floats, and horse equipment such as saddlery, unless they have been cleaned and disinfected.
    ‘’People and other animals can move freely – except on and off the infected property.’’
    Mr Roth said owners in the 10km Restricted Area must leave horses on the place they are currently located and minimise contact with potentially infected horses.
    ‘’If possible, people should allow 72 hours between contact with other horses and your own horses. If this is not possible, make sure you change all clothing and shower and wash your hair,’’ he said.
    ‘’Stamping out this disease can only be achieved by isolating affected animals and implementing strong movement controls, especially close to affected properties.’’
    Heavy fines of up to $44,000 apply for breaches of the movement regulations.
    NSW Equine Influenza and donation hotline: 1800 675 888
    More information: Equine Influenza | NSW Department of Primary Industries
     
  2. mod 6

    mod 6 Moderator

    Update: Authorities up the ante on horse flu



    11 Sep 2007
    Over 200 personnel are working throughout NSW as part of ongoing efforts to manage the Equine Influenza (EI) outbreak, Chief Veterinary Officer Bruce Christie said today.
    ‘’We are strongly committed to eradicating this virus and have many people tirelessly working both at the coal face and behind the scenes,’’ Mr Christie said.
    ‘’Everything possible is being done to protect horse owners and their animals and ultimately to beat this outbreak.
    ‘’While we expect the number of positive tests for EI to continue to rise in coming days, the comprehensive tracing systems we have in place allow us to accurately monitor and anticipate where the spread will go and establish restricted areas quickly.
    “Our main message remains the same: adhere to the horse standstill across the State and report sick horses as soon as possible.”
    More than 4,600 horses on 410 properties have now contracted the horse flu since it was first confirmed on 25 August. There are now 24 Restricted Areas (RA).
    About 110 staff are currently working with affected people out of the Local Disease Control Centre (LDCC) at Menangle, while another team are working from the State Disease Control Centre (SDCHQ), which has been set up at DPI’s head office at Orange.
    In addition, personnel are operating from five Forward Command Posts at Gosford, Parkes, Richmond, Scone and Tamworth to help manage the outbreak and reinforce communications in key areas.
    The NSW Department of Primary Industries is being supported in their efforts by a range of organisations including; NSW Rural Fire Service, NSW Police, NSW Health, Forests NSW, Rural Lands Protection Board, State Emergency Services, Animal Health Australia, Department of Environment and Climate Change NSW, the Western Australia Department of Agriculture and other state and Commonwealth personnel.
    Key Contacts: NSW Equine Influenza and donation hotline: 1800 675 888

    More information: Equine Influenza | NSW Department of Primary Industries






    Special circumstances required for permits






    12 Sep 2007
    Owners are strongly reminded that permits for horse-related movements in NSW will only be approved under very special circumstances.
    The Local Rural Lands Protection Boards (RLPB) are the first point of contact for all movement requests and are urging all horse owners to only submit requests where absolutely necessary.
    RLPB veterinarians or rangers will review permit applications, then forward eligible requests to the NSW DPI Local Disease Control Centre (LDCC) for approval if certain extenuating circumstances exist.
    ‘’Each request will be reviewed on whether a permit is required, the need for the movement and a risk assessment,’’ said NSW chief veterinary officer, Bruce Christie.
    “It is important that horse owners understand that very few permits are being issued at this time as we work to contain further spread of the virus and protect the horse industry.’’
    “Factors such as animal welfare, movement history, contact with other horses, proximity to quarantined premises and the selected transport route will be considered in the risk assessment.
    “The Local Disease Control Centre has the final decision on whether movement authorisation will be given.”
    Approved permits will contain specific information regarding the requested movement and any special conditions applied.
    Key Contacts:
    NSW Equine Influenza and donation hotline: 1800 675 888
    More information: Equine Influenza | NSW Department of Primary Industries
     
  3. mod 6

    mod 6 Moderator

    New horse flu command centre for Narrabri: Macdonald



    12 Sep 2007
    Minister for Primary Industries, Ian Macdonald, today said the NSW DPI has started work on establishing a new forward command centre to coordinate responses to Equine Influenza (EI) in the local Narrabri region.
    “We have established a command centre at Narrabri to better coordinate NSW Government responses to an increasing number of infected horses in the area,” Minister Macdonald said.
    “The new centre, located at Narrabri’s Rural Fire Service on the Old Newell Hwy Narrabri West, is in addition to six existing DPI forward command centres in Tamworth, Parkes, Scone, Gosford, Richmond and Randwick already working to contain the virus.
    “The Narrabri centre will coordinate containment measures, testing for the disease, implementation of quarantine measures, issue decontamination kits and ensure compliance with the statewide standstill on horse movements.
    “Today there are 28 properties suspected or infected with Equine Influenza in Narrabri, seven in nearby Wee Waa, three in Boggabri and three in Barradine.”
    “I urge all people who notice the EI symptoms in their horses, mules or donkeys to contact their local vet in the first instance or the DPI hotline on 1800 675 888.”
    Symptoms include: a deep dry hacking cough, a watery nasal discharge that may become cloudy or coloured and a sudden increase in temperature to over 38.5 degrees Celsius. Other signs can include depression, loss of appetite, laboured breathing, muscle pain and muscle stiffness.
    People do not suffer from equine influenza, however they can transfer the infection between horses. The influenza virus can survive on skin, fabrics and the surface of saddlery and horse equipment. But it is easily killed by cleaning and disinfection.
    This means it is important to shower or wash exposed skin with soap and water, removing and washing clothing after exposure to the horses and cleaning and disinfecting footwear.

    For up-to-date and detailed information, contact the Emergency Animal Disease hotline on 1800 675 888 or go to the website Equine Influenza | NSW Department of Primary Industries






    Tamworth horse owners support is key to local EI success



    12 Sep 2007
    NSW Department of Primary Industries has commended local horse owners for helping to stop the spread of equine influenza in the local Tamworth area.
    “Everything possible is being done to help affected horse owners and stop the disease in its tracks,” deputy chief veterinary officer, Ian Roth, said.
    “NSW DPI staff are bending over backwards at the Tamworth forward command post to help affected horse owners and relaying information on hygiene and control requirements.
    “We recognise that some owners will be inconvenienced for the greater good of the whole horse industry and we understand the tough situation they are in.
    “However, management of the outbreak at Tamworth is not only crucial locally, it is important to the overall national effort to eradicate equine influenza.
    “The program is relying on the industry doing it’s part to report sick horses, to observe the restrictions on movement and to follow good hygiene practices to prevent the spread of the disease.
    “We are asking people who are concerned about the health of their horse to contact their own veterinarian in the first instance, and to contact the Tamworth frontline post on 6763 1401 if they have been unsuccessful.”
    Mr Roth stressed that efforts to stop the spread of the disease were working.
    “There are no surprises in the 410 infected properties that we are now seeing, as these could all be traced to movements from the initial outbreaks,” he said.
    “There has been a small amount of lateral spread from infected properties, which is mostly horse-to-horse contact – that’s why we have asked owner to keep horses away from boundary fences.
    “There are plenty of negative results coming through the testing system which is encouraging. Today, we have received advice that eight horses at Manilla and another four at Gunnedah have tested negative.”
    Mr Roth said the DPI had invested a lot of effort in communicating the key messages through the various media outlets, with regular updates provided, and its web site is recording 20,000 hits per day.
    “It’s also encouraging to see people are using the disease hotline – 8,000 calls have been received so far – and the Australian Horse Industry Council is sending e-mails or SMS messages to owners who are registered on the Horse Emergency Contact Database,” he said.
    A State-wide advertising blitz is soon to commence, while NSW DPI is also setting up a community education program built around the horse industry taking on a greater role disseminating information to owners.
    Mr Roth applauded the efforts of DPI staff at the Tamworth frontline post, including staff from the Rural Lands Protection Board and other agencies.
    He appealed for the entire community to work together to eradicate the disease.
    NSW Equine Influenza hotline: 1800 675 888
    More information: Equine Influenza | NSW Department of Primary Industries
     
  4. mod 6

    mod 6 Moderator

    EI only in a small part of NSW - map tells the story



    13 Sep 2007
    Properties with horses infected with equine influenza cover only a fraction of the land area of NSW, NSW deputy chief veterinary officer, Ian Roth, said today.
    “Less than five per cent of the almost 170,000 horses in NSW have so far tested positive for the disease,” Mr Roth said.
    “And a clear majority of the horse population located in areas of the State not currently affected by the EI outbreak.
    “Although the number of infected properties continues to steadily rise, new infections have shown up in places that were expected, either though our tracing or lateral spread to nearby properties.
    “Most new infections are occurring on small properties with relatively few horses, and most of these are confined to a few districts with high horse populations.
    “The large restricted areas around infected properties may be giving the impression that the disease is more widespread than is actually is.
    “These buffer zones are mostly based on local government areas, to help locals get a better understanding of the boundaries.”
    Mr Roth said the fact that EI was not emerging in new areas of the State was a sign that the strategies of movement restrictions and that tracing were effective.
    “We have been able to limit the spread and this gives us confidence that our movement standstill strategy of confining horse flu to relatively few animals in a defined band of NSW is working, even though infection numbers continue to rise.
    “Unfortunately the short term consequences of keeping the disease contained are that the indefinite movement restrictions must continue and the need for all properties in restricted areas to continue to enforce strict quarantine procedures.”
    Map showing EI infection locations available online.
    More information: Equine Influenza | NSW Department of Primary Industries
     
  5. mod 6

    mod 6 Moderator

    National Management Group: Equine Influenza

    COMMUNIQUE
    NMGEI07/02 13 September 2007
    Equine Influenza Response Remains on Track

    The National Management Group (NMG) addressing the Equine Influenza outbreak has re-affirmed its view that equine influenza can be contained with a view to eradication, with current control measures remaining effective.

    The group has asked its scientific and technical advisory body, the Consultative Committee on Emergency Animal Disease (CCEAD), to develop scenarios to project the future trend of the outbreak based on reasonable assumptions.
    This work should help response agencies, industry and recreational horse owners develop a clearer picture of how much longer stringent biosecurity and movement restrictions may need to be maintained.
    The NMG has also issued a paper on vaccination Equine Influenza Vaccination in a Containment and Eradication Situation to help inform stakeholders and the public debate on the issue. Prepared by the CCEAD, the paper outlines technical facts about vaccination and key issues for considering vaccination as a control measure.
    Contingency planning for the possible future use of vaccines is being undertaken. CCEAD will prepare a risk analysis on key issues, focussing on possible triggers for vaccination use and strategies for employing it.
    Meanwhile, the need for maintaining current standstill requirements and biosecurity measures will be reinforced through an advertising and direct mail campaign targeting peri-urban landholders.
    The campaign will highlight the importance of the standstill measures in force in NSW, Queensland and the ACT, and critical biosecurity measures including personal hygiene around horses, limiting access to animals, keeping watch for signs of the disease, and reporting suspected cases.
    NMG is comprised of the Chief Executive Officers of the Commonwealth and State/Territory departments of agriculture/primary industries across Australia, and also the heads of the peak bodies representing the horse industry.
    Equine Influenza vaccination in a containment and eradication situation

    Introduction

    This paper outlines the range of issues that need to be weighed in considering the use of vaccination in Australia’s response to the current equine influenza (EI) outbreak. There are strong arguments for as well as against the use of vaccination as part of Australia’s current equine influenza eradication program (see summary in Table 1). A benefit-cost-analysis is currently being developed.
    Whilst vaccination might assist in particular circumstances, it cannot offer a quick fix solution in a national program. However, as a precaution, contingency planning for possible future use of vaccines in particular situations is being undertaken.
    EI is due to infection with H3 or H7 influenza A viruses. The current outbreak in Australia is due to an H3 virus. Although all H3 viruses that infect horses are of the subtype H3N8, they are not all the same. They are subject to the same evolutionary process as all influenza A viruses: they are continually changing, a process called antigenic drift. This is why animals can catch influenza more than once, even in consecutive years, and why influenza vaccines (in humans) are changed annually in accordance with predicted antigenic requirements.
    EI is endemic in virtually all countries with significant equine industries, and vaccination is used to control the disease in those countries. Australia (until recently) and New Zealand are the only countries with large equine populations free of the disease and therefore do not vaccinate.
    Although vaccination can prevent disease, the available EI vaccines neither fully prevent infection nor transmission of virus. However, vaccinated horses, in response to EI infection, shed less virus for shorter periods and show fewer or no detectable clinical signs than fully susceptible horses.
    Better protection will result when there is a close relationship between the field virus and the strain used in a vaccine.
    Immunity following vaccination is much shorter than that induced by natural infection. Sporadic outbreaks of disease still occur in countries where vaccination is practised as a result of inadequate vaccine coverage or if new strains emerge or are introduced.
    Vaccination considerations

    For a country like Australia, the decision to use vaccination or not is complex, and there are many issues that need to be considered. Unlike endemically infected countries, EI has been only recently introduced into Australia and presently affects only part of the country and specific sectors of the horse industry (predominantly the recreational sector).
    Vaccination will not produce protective immunity until about two weeks after the primary course is completed. All available vaccines recommend a primary course of two vaccinations, generally 4 to 6 weeks apart. This means that immunity will not be optimal until about six weeks after a horse is first vaccinated.
    Types of Vaccination

    There are three types of EI vaccines commercially available:
    • Inactivated (‘killed’) vaccines
    • Live attenuated vaccines
    • Recombinant canary pox vectored vaccine
    For inactivated vaccines, a primary course consisting of two vaccinations 4-6 weeks apart is required before vaccine-based immunity is effective. Optimal immunity is not present until at least 7-14 days after the second dose. For ongoing protection from disease, manufacturers recommend a booster vaccination 6 months after the primary course and then annually.
    Live attenuated vaccines and recombinant vaccines, while still not providing complete protection, produce quicker and stronger immunity than inactivated vaccines. Live attenuated vaccines are not being considered for use in Australia because of the potential for introduction of other strains of EI virus. The recombinant vaccine is under consideration in Australia; it is the preferred choice as it has been shown that this vaccine can provide protection and reduce shedding of virus 14 days after a single dose. A second booster vaccination is required to ensure adequate duration of immunity. This vaccine was used successfully during the 2003 EI outbreak in South Africa.
    Procedures
    Vaccinators must maintain stringent hygiene procedures to avoid spreading EI between properties. A cold chain would be required for the storage of vaccine. Vaccine use under emergency permits may require stringent administrative control of vaccine issue and use.
    Brood mares can be vaccinated during pregnancy and lactation (in accordance with manufacturers’ recommendations), but vaccination in the month before foaling will not allow time for adequate production of antibody in colostrum, resulting in poor passive antibody protection of newborn foals. In countries where EI is endemic, vaccination of broodmares is used to ensure maternal antibody to EI in colostrum, providing passive immunity for newborn foals.
    There is no evidence that vaccination of horses already incubating influenza is harmful, but vaccination of clinically ill horses is not recommended. Some manufacturers recommend against vaccinating young foals because in endemic countries the presence of colostral antibodies will interfere with development of immunity. This would not be a concern in the current Australian situation; advice from equine experts at the Animal Health Trust in the UK is that vaccinating young foals in naïve populations is likely to reduce clinical impact if these were to be exposed to infection.
    Australian policy

    Australia’s response to a range of emergency animal diseases is captured in a series of technical and scientific response manuals called AUSVETPLAN. In terms of EI, AUSVETPLAN states that vaccination will not be used if an EI outbreak is detected early and can be confidently contained by effective movement controls1. However, AUSVETPLAN recognises that vaccination may be appropriate where:
    • the disease is widespread when detected; or,
    • significant numbers of horses are at immediate risk; or,
    • initial controls methods have failed, and the disease has spread beyond the original restricted area and is likely to become endemic in the general equine population.
    AUSVETPLAN identifies the following strategies for the use of vaccination in the face of an outbreak:
    • mass vaccination ─ this would involve widespread vaccination of horses to build up herd immunity
    • ring vaccination ─ vaccination is carried out locally in a ring around identified sources of infection to limit further spread by producing an immune buffer
    • predictive vaccination ─ this targets enterprises and populations that could be expected to contribute most to future spatial transmission of infection
    Vaccination strategies

    Vaccination has not, on its own, resulted in EI eradication anywhere in the world, and the use of stringent biosecurity measures and movement controls would still be required. Therefore it must be implemented in conjunction with identification, record keeping, quarantine and movement control measures 2
    Vaccination may be used to protect animals in important sub sectors/regions of the horse industry and/or to reduce the economic impact of the current approach on these sub sectors/regions and the wider economy.
    Vaccination may be used to reduce the impact of disease on horses required to move for competition and other reasons e.g. breeding. Horses would be required to be vaccinated before movement, and because vaccinated horses can still become infected, stringent quarantine and movement controls would be necessary between infected and uninfected zones.
     
  6. mod 6

    mod 6 Moderator

    In practice, these measures (as mentioned in the paragraphs above) need to be elaborated to a much more detailed level, before being considered for implementation.
    1 Here containment refers to infection being restricted geographically with, eradication considered to be feasible
    2 A National Horse Identification Document approved by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) has provision for vaccination records. This document is easily convertible into an FEI Horse Passport valid for international travel. EFA branches in all states could process registrations.
    Table: Advantages and disadvantages of vaccination for EI

    Advantages
    • Vaccination can prevent clinical disease.
    • Vaccination reduces the susceptibility of at-risk horses, reduces the severity of clinical signs and the level of viral shedding if they become infected.
    • Vaccination can reduce farm-to-farm spread of infection.
    • Apart from horse movements to New Zealand, there are unlikely to be any international implications of vaccinating.
    Disadvantages
    • Vaccination may mask clinical signs so vaccinated horses will need to be identified and monitored for evidence of infection.
    • Serological monitoring will be difficult, even though tests are available to differentiate vaccinated horses. Some tests used in this respect may not be internationally validated.
    • The movement of sub-clinically infected vaccinated horses may spread infection to previously unaffected areas.
    • Vaccination may prolong the need for movement restrictions because it may slow the transmission and spread of infection within areas.
    • Vaccinating selected regions will lead to the country being separated into free and vaccinated areas. This will result in differential movement requirements and the need for infrastructure (permits, border controls, etc) to maintain integrity of free areas.
    • Vaccination will have an impact in terms of registration and passport issues and the practical control measures required before many horse events can proceed.
    • Vaccination is not an immediate option, it will take time to import vaccine (permit process), deploy vaccine and train vaccinators, vaccinate the population and for immunity to develop.
    • In the case of the recombinant vaccine there may be restrictions placed on how and who may use the vaccine.
    • Vaccination may affect performance in the short term.
    • Vaccine use is likely to extend the duration of the outbreak and delay ability to declare freedom.
    Consultative Committee on Emergency Animal Diseases
    13 September 2007
     
  7. mod 6

    mod 6 Moderator

    Australian vets call for targeted Equine Influenza (EI) VaccinationsFriday 14th September 2007
    Equine Veterinarians Australia (EVA) (EVA) the equine special interest group of the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) has called on the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) to immediately consider strategic vaccination of targeted high-risk equine populations, in conjunction with current containment strategies.
    Dr Cameron Collins, Secretary of the EVA and practicing equine veterinarian based in the Hunter Valley said:
    “Strategic vaccination of target populations should be implemented to prevent further infection of contained unaffected horse populations.
    Use of vaccination in combination with current DPI containment strategies is recognition that there are a significant number of horses at immediate risk that may be able to be protected from the virus, without compromising the ability to control the spread of the disease.
    Strategic vaccination will provide further security for target horse populations and provide much needed security for many industry participants."
    Success of strategic vaccination will require rapid importation of the most effective vaccine available and administration by veterinarians under the stringent guidance of the DPI.
    The EVA’s Position Statement has been provided to the Minister and the Chief Veterinary Officer of NSW, and addresses animal welfare, economic and epidemiological considerations which must be examined in the control and eradication of the current EI outbreak.
    EVA and AVA wholeheartedly support the directives and actions of the state DPIs, and through their members, are implementing much of the grassroots surveillance, identification and treatment of EI affected horses.
    Many vets have worked in difficult circumstances over extended periods of time to ensure that the containment strategy implemented by both the NSW and Queensland DPIs is given every opportunity to eradicate the virus from Australia.
    Dr Collins added:
    “EVA’s call for targeted vaccination is consistent with the existing containment framework of the AUSVETPLAN and will offer an additional effective mechanism to protect horses from infection, assist the industry to get back on its feet while supporting an eradication of EI from Australia."
    EVA has provided valuable scientific advice and input into various key government departments and advisory committees during the outbreak to assist government with its objectives to contain EI and ultimately get all horse businesses back to work as soon as possible.
    EVA
     
  8. mod 6

    mod 6 Moderator

    Hi all! Last night I attended a meeting at the Geelong Racing Club on EI. Thought I'd share what I gained from it. The speaker was KATE SAVAGE, Head of Clinical Studies, Melbourne Uni. Internal Medicine Specialist. She is now in charge of the equine hospital at Werribee. She has extensive overseas experience, having been head of a big American equine hospital, and has considerable experience with EI there, and with biosecurity issues.She was convincing on the issue of non-vaccination here in Australia. According to Kate, logistically, it would be a nightmare. We might manage to vaccinate 70%. The EI virus changes, the one required is not in Australia, and there would be no guarantee that one imported would be fully effective. She believes that the AQIS 'shut down' policy is the best one for the current situation. She stressed that strangles and salmonella viruses were far more virulent than this EI virus, which will strike here and there and eventually burn itself out. Obviously the most at risk are foals and the elderly. Vaccination would definitely not be a quick fix. Because there is no immunity, many horses will get it here. Vaccinating would become useless really, as repeats would be necessary and some horses infected would escape detection - may have only low temp rise, for example and would continue to infect others.
    Eradication is the best solution.

    These are the major points on signs, and management - point form:
    CHARACTERISTICS OF EI
    • Short incubation period 1 – 5 days
    • Spread easily – 30m from a horse coughing
    • Can be wind-borne
    • Extremely contagious, mostly spread by coughing
    • Horse ‘sheds’ (coughs out) the virus most in the early days
    • Horse can ‘shed’ for 7 – 14 days
    • EI can be caught several times (not immediately, but at
    another outbreak)

    CLINICAL SIGNS
    • Fever – rectal temp over 40 –recommended 1 day off work for
    each day of fever
    • Cough, frequent, can be hacking
    • Thin, watery nasal discharge
    • Thin eye discharge
    • Lack of appetite
    • Stiff movement
    • Depression, lethargy
    • Heart muscle inflammation – rest important!
    • Mortality only an issue for foals, the elderly, and due to
    secondary infections

    MANAGEMENT
    • Some are leaving rugs off to ‘run the fever out faster’
    • If used to rugging and weather is cold at night, for comfort
    of horse, rug
    • Antibiotics are useless to fight EI virus, but if the horse gets a secondary infection, then antibiotics may be given. (Diarrhoea may result, but this is due to the antibiotics and is not an EI symptom)
    • IF taking your horse’s temperature, do it AFTER you’ve done the mucous membrane test (capillary refill) as a logical biosecurity precaution
    • Lung sounds are usually normal with EI in the early stages pre- secondary bacterial infection (stethoscope examination therefore not much use)
    • “Rebreathing” still a good idea – soft,plastic bag over the nose, horse breathes in, blows into it, then when removed, the horse should take a big deep breath, you can hear if the intake is good/strong/clear (or rattles)
    • Blow YOUR nose after treating EI affected -virus can survive in the human nose
    • Dispose of tissue etc biosafely – burn, tie up in plastic bag securely (this one is my additional comment)
    • Clear your throat – can be inhaled and still viable!

    Other points of note:
    • Mares that get it during pregnancy would pass on some
    antibodies to the foal via colostrum
    • EI virus can : stay viable on hair, skin, clothes
    Can live in water for days
    Can live 5 – 6 days in urine
    Survived in horse blood when it was warmed
    Does not survive in semen or embryos
    • Cleanliness with containers (for AI) crucial!
    • When is it eradicated? The last horse should be free after 14 days, but a few days extra (week or so) will be allowed to ascertain this
    • Observe quarantine! Be vigilant!

    Hope this may be of interest / use.
    It certainly convinced me that non-vaccination is the way to go, to eradicate the virus.
    Regards!
     
  9. mod 6

    mod 6 Moderator

    National Management Group:
    Equine Influenza
    COMMUNIQUE NMGEI07/02 13 September 2007
    Equine Influenza Response Remains on Track
    The National Management Group (NMG) addressing the Equine Influenza outbreak has re-affirmed its view that equine influenza can be contained with a view to eradication, with current control measures remaining effective.
    The group has asked its scientific and technical advisory body, the Consultative Committee on Emergency Animal Disease (CCEAD), to develop scenarios to project the future trend of the outbreak based on reasonable assumptions.
    This work should help response agencies, industry and recreational horse owners develop a clearer picture of how much longer stringent biosecurity and movement restrictions may need to be maintained.
    The NMG has also issued a paper on vaccination Equine Influenza Vaccination in a Containment and Eradication Situation to help inform stakeholders and the public debate on the issue. Prepared by the CCEAD, the paper outlines technical facts about vaccination and key issues for considering vaccination as a control measure.
    Contingency planning for the possible future use of vaccines is being undertaken. CCEAD will prepare a risk analysis on key issues, focussing on possible triggers for vaccination use and strategies for employing it.
    Meanwhile, the need for maintaining current standstill requirements and biosecurity measures will be reinforced through an advertising and direct mail campaign targeting peri-urban landholders.

    The campaign will highlight the importance of the standstill measures in force in NSW, Queensland and the ACT, and critical biosecurity measures including personal hygiene around horses, limiting access to animals, keeping watch for signs of the disease, and reporting suspected cases. NMG is comprised of the Chief Executive Officers of the Commonwealth and State/Territory departments of agriculture/primary industries across Australia, and also the heads of the peak bodies representing the horse industry.
    Media contact: Howard Conkey 0419 014 817
    Equine Influenza vaccination in a containment and eradication situation
    Introduction
    This paper outlines the range of issues that need to be weighed in considering the use of vaccination in Australia’s response to the current equine influenza (EI) outbreak. There are strong arguments for as well as against the use of vaccination as part of Australia’s current equine influenza eradication program (see summary in Table 1). A benefit-cost-analysis is currently being developed.

    Whilst vaccination might assist in particular circumstances, it cannot offer a quick fix solution in a national program. However, as a precaution, contingency planning for possible future use of vaccines in particular situations is being undertaken. EI is due to infection with H3 or H7 influenza A viruses. The current outbreak in Australia is due to an H3 virus. Although all H3 viruses that infect horses are of the subtype H3N8, they are not all the same. They are subject to the same evolutionary process as all influenza A viruses: they are continually changing, a process called antigenic drift. This is why animals can catch influenza more than once, even in consecutive years, and why influenza vaccines (in humans) are changed annually in accordance with predicted antigenic requirements.
    EI is endemic in virtually all countries with significant equine industries, and vaccination is used to control the disease in those countries. Australia (until recently) and New Zealand are the only countries with large equine populations free of the disease and therefore do not vaccinate.
    Although vaccination can prevent disease, the available EI vaccines neither fully prevent infection nor transmission of virus. However, vaccinated horses, in response to EI infection, shed less virus for shorter periods and show fewer or no detectable clinical signs than fully susceptible horses.
    Better protection will result when there is a close relationship between the field virus and the strain used in a vaccine. Immunity following vaccination is much shorter than that induced by natural infection. Sporadic outbreaks of disease still occur in countries where vaccination is practised as a result of inadequate vaccine coverage or if new strains emerge or are introduced.
    Vaccination considerations
    For a country like Australia, the decision to use vaccination or not is complex, and there are many issues that need to be considered. Unlike endemically infected countries, EI has been only recently introduced into Australia and presently affects only part of the country and specific sectors of the horse industry (predominantly the recreational sector).
    Vaccination will not produce protective immunity until about two weeks after the primary course is completed. All available vaccines recommend a primary course of two vaccinations, generally 4 to 6 weeks apart. This means that immunity will not be optimal until about six weeks after a horse is first vaccinated.
    Types of vaccines
    There are three types of EI vaccines commercially available:
    • Inactivated (‘killed’) vaccines
    • Live attenuated vaccines
    • Recombinant canary pox vectored vaccine
    For inactivated vaccines, a primary course consisting of two vaccinations 4-6 weeks apart is required before vaccine-based immunity is effective. Optimal immunity is not present until at
    least 7-14 days after the second dose. For ongoing protection from disease, manufacturers recommend a booster vaccination 6 months after the primary course and then annually. Live attenuated vaccines and recombinant vaccines, while still not providing complete protection, produce quicker and stronger immunity than inactivated vaccines. Live attenuated vaccines are not being considered for use in Australia because of the potential for introduction of other strains of EI virus. The recombinant vaccine is under consideration in
    Australia; it is the preferred choice as it has been shown that this vaccine can provide protection and reduce shedding of virus 14 days after a single dose. A second booster vaccination is required to ensure adequate duration of immunity. This vaccine was used successfully during the 2003 EI outbreak in South Africa.

    Procedures
    Vaccinators must maintain stringent hygiene procedures to avoid spreading EI between properties. A cold chain would be required for the storage of vaccine. Vaccine use under emergency permits may require stringent administrative control of vaccine issue and use.
    Brood mares can be vaccinated during pregnancy and lactation (in accordance with manufacturers’ recommendations), but vaccination in the month before foaling will not allow time for adequate production of antibody in colostrum, resulting in poor passive antibody
    protection of newborn foals. In countries where EI is endemic, vaccination of broodmares is used to ensure maternal antibody to EI in colostrum, providing passive immunity for newborn
    foals.

    There is no evidence that vaccination of horses already incubating influenza is harmful, but vaccination of clinically ill horses is not recommended. Some manufacturers recommend against vaccinating young foals because in endemic countries the presence of colostral antibodies will interfere with development of immunity. This would not be a concern in the current Australian situation; advice from equine experts at the Animal Health Trust in the UK is that vaccinating young foals in naïve populations is likely to reduce clinical impact if these were to be exposed to infection.
    Australian policy
    Australia’s response to a range of emergency animal diseases is captured in a series oftechnical and scientific response manuals called AUSVETPLAN. In terms of EI, AUSVETPLAN states that vaccination will not be used if an EI outbreak is detected early and can be confidently contained by effective movement controls1.
     
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    However,
    AUSVETPLAN recognises that vaccination may be appropriate where:
    • the disease is widespread when detected; or,
    • significant numbers of horses are at immediate risk; or,
    • initial controls methods have failed, and the disease has spread beyond the original restricted area and is likely to become endemic in the general equine population.

    AUSVETPLAN identifies the following strategies for the use of vaccination in the face of an outbreak:
    • mass vaccination ─ this would involve widespread vaccination of horses to build up
    herd immunity
    • ring vaccination ─ vaccination is carried out locally in a ring around identified sources of infection to limit further spread by producing an immune buffer
    • predictive vaccination ─ this targets enterprises and populations that could be expected to contribute most to future spatial transmission of infection

    Vaccination strategies
    Vaccination has not, on its own, resulted in EI eradication anywhere in the world, and the use of stringent biosecurity measures and movement controls would still be required. Therefore it
    must be implemented in conjunction with identification, record keeping, quarantine and movement control measures 2
    Vaccination may be used to protect animals in important sub sectors/regions of the horse industry and/or to reduce the economic impact of the current approach on these sub sectors/regions and the wider economy.

    Vaccination may be used to reduce the impact of disease on horses required to move for competition and other reasons e.g. breeding. Horses would be required to be vaccinated before movement, and because vaccinated horses can still become infected, stringent quarantine and movement controls would be necessary between infected and uninfected
    zones.

    In practice, these measures (as mentioned in the paragraphs above) need to be elaborated to a much more detailed level, before being considered for implementation
    Table: Advantages and disadvantages of vaccination for EI
    Advantages
    • Vaccination can prevent clinical disease.
    • Vaccination reduces the susceptibility of at-risk horses, reduces the severity of clinical signs and the level of viral shedding if they become infected.
    • Vaccination can reduce farm-to-farm spread of infection.
    • Apart from horse movements to New Zealand, there are unlikely to be any international implications of vaccinating.
    Disadvantages
    • Vaccination may mask clinical signs so vaccinated horses will need to be identified and monitored for evidence of infection.
    • Serological monitoring will be difficult, even though tests are available to differentiate vaccinated horses. Some tests used in this respect may not be internationally validated.
    • The movement of sub-clinically infected vaccinated horses may spread infection
    to previously unaffected areas.
    • Vaccination may prolong the need for movement restrictions because it may slow the transmission and spread of infection within areas.
    • Vaccinating selected regions will lead to the country being separated into free and vaccinated areas. This will result in differential movement requirements and the need for infrastructure (permits, border controls, etc) to maintain integrity of free
    areas.
    • Vaccination will have an impact in terms of registration and passport issues and the practical control measures required before many horse events can proceed.
    • Vaccination is not an immediate option, it will take time to import vaccine (permit process), deploy vaccine and train vaccinators, vaccinate the population and for immunity to develop.
    • In the case of the recombinant vaccine there may be restrictions placed on how and who may use the vaccine.
    • Vaccination may affect performance in the short term.
    • Vaccine use is likely to extend the duration of the outbreak and delay ability to declare freedom.

    Consultative Committee on Emergency Animal Diseases
    13 September 2007
     
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    Horse flu temporarily affects El Caballo Blanco performances



    16 Sep 2007
    The world renowned performing horse show at El Caballo Blanco will be temporarily suspended, after three of the stars of the show displayed clinical signs of EI. But owners say it will be business as usual once their horses have recovered.
    A DPI assigned vet, inspected horses at the centre, which is located at Maraylya in Sydney’s Hills District, after owners called the DPI hotline to report a sick horse.
    DPI deputy chief veterinary officer, Ian Roth, said following animal welfare advice, the owners of El Caballo Blanco have decided to cancel the shows scheduled for this weekend.
    “DPI staff attended the complex yesterday to explain the situation and provide advice to the horse owners. They also stressed that the possible cases of horse flu posed no threat to human health,” Mr Roth said.
    “The horses didn’t show symptoms until yesterday (Saturday 15th) morning. Therefore visitors who attended shows last weekend are assured that they pose no risk of spreading the disease onto, or off, the El Caballo Blanco property.
    “The horses perform in the Horse World Stadium arena which includes a buffer area between the horses and the audience. The entrance to the performance is a horse free area, and the audience have no direct interaction with the horses.
    “These factors all further reduce any risk of horses coming into direct contact with people attending the shows.”
    There are 20 high performance horses stabled at the El Caballo Blanco site.
    Once the horses have recovered the highly popular shows will recommence.
    Anyone seeking a refund or more information should contact El Caballo Blanco directly on 1300-365-700 or El Caballo Blanco
     
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    Horse flu cases remain within containment lines



    17 Sep 2007
    New cases of equine influenza in NSW remain within established containment lines of the Restricted Areas, NSW DPI Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer, Ian Roth, said today.
    “There have been no surprise cases. We know where the disease is and the standstill is preventing its spread into new areas,” Mr Roth said.
    “We must remember this is a highly contagious disease that can be passed on or transferred very, very easily.
    “Areas where infected properties exist include the Hunter, Hawkesbury, Hornsby and Wollondilly local government areas, Narrabri and Tamworth in north western NSW, Cooyal near Mudgee and Dubbo and Parkes in the Central West.
    Latest figures from tracing and surveillance teams show there are 1063 properties infected with equine influenza in NSW.
    About 9700 horses have tested positive to horse flu and 4762 have tested negative.
    Mr Roth said there were about 620 suspect properties in NSW being monitored and it is expected that the number of Infected Properties will continue to steadily increase.
    “The message to horse owners and the wider community is that the standstill is working - new infections are located close to known infected properties,” he said.
    “We need to keep up the good work sticking by the standstill.
    “NSW DPI is working to ease restrictions where there is no sign of the disease, however this has to be agreed to nationally by other States and Territories”.

    Download excerpts (952kb) from the media conference with NSW Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer Ian Roth from the Audio downloads page.
     
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    Remain vigilant with horse biosecurity



    17 Sep 2007
    Horse industry professionals such as farriers and equine dentists have been urged to continue strict biosecurity measures when working with horses.
    During the current horse movement standstill, people handling horses and moving between equine influenza infected properties can rapidly spread the highly contagious virus if decontamination standards slip.
    “Relatively simple prevention techniques like decontamination are the most effective and least expensive means of disease control,” said NSW deputy chief veterinary office Ian Roth.
    “Everybody in contact with horses, from owners and trainers, to vets and strappers, needs to implement these measures and adhere to them, to ensure they don’t spread horse flu.
    “The best option is to minimise contact with horses until the threat of horse flu has passed and only have contact when absolutely essential.”
    Mr Roth said full decontamination after working with horses was crucial.
    “Decontamination includes showering, changing clothes and cleaning footwear, tools and other equipment,” he said.
    “Precautions such as not taking vehicles on to horse properties, working with as few horses as possible and not touching sick horses minimise the risk.
    “It is also important to keep records so that if necessary horses and owners can be traced.
    “Wearing disposable or removable clothing such as overalls and showering after returning straight home can make decontamination easier, provided clothes are packed into an airtight bag until laundering.”
    The latest advice on hygiene around horses is at Equine Influenza | NSW Department of Primary Industries
     
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    Vaccine for horse flu buffer zones in NSW: Macdonald



    17 Sep 2007
    About 10,000 shots of horse flu vaccine will be imported for use in new special Equine Influenza (EI) buffer zones in NSW, Minister for Primary Industries, Ian Macdonald, said today.
    Minister Macdonald said the move comes as the racing industry gears up for crowds to return trackside to Rosehill on Saturday.
    “The vaccine represents the next phase in the campaign to eradicate the exotic horse flu which has now infected more than 1000 properties in NSW,” he said.
    “Vaccine will be imported once the Federal Government’s office of the Gene Technology Regulator signs off on this initiative – I have already written to them on this important matter.
    “There is national agreement that we must use the vaccine strategically and with precision to stay one step ahead of the disease with the ultimate aim of eradication.
    “I want to make it absolutely clear from the start that the vaccine will NOT be made available to each and every horse owner in NSW - it just won’t work that way.
    “Exhaustive tracing, surveillance and mapping efforts mean we now have a good handle on where the disease is. This knowledge makes vaccine use in buffer zones the best option to contain and eradicate. Using vaccine earlier in the campaign, without the information we have now, would have been flying blind.”
    Minister Macdonald said the Iemma Government’s approach to disease management had the full support of the National Consultative Committee on Emergency Animal Diseases and the National Management Group.
    “However, all involved in this crisis must not see vaccine as the silver bullet, or the answer to all the problems thrown up by the EI outbreak,” he said.
    “Biosecurity, hygiene and movement restrictions remain vitally important to our effort to contain this disease. We also need to determine just how this got into NSW in the first place.”
    Minister Macdonald said vaccine use in NSW involves:
    • Buffer zones established around known EI hot spots – about 10km width.
    • About 5000 horses will be vaccinated twice at an interval of 14 days.
    • Identification of horses using microchip.
    • Co-operation from horse owners in the buffer zones.
    Mr Macdonald said that to ensure the most successful use of vaccine, the NSW Department of Primary Industries would define four risk zones across NSW.
    “The zones are currently being defined and will be announced later in the week,” he said.
    “The standstill on all horse movements remains.”
    Minister Macdonald said there was some good news for the hard-pressed racing industry with crowds to be allowed trackside at Rosehill this weekend for the first time since the bans on horse movement were put in place almost a month ago.
    “Rosehill management are expecting about 7000 people to attend,” he said.
    “Of course strict biosecurity measures will be in place at Rosehill but it will be good to see people back trackside in NSW for the first time.”
    Biosecurity Measures at Rosehill this Saturday include:
    • People will be restricted to the grandstand (and public area behind and just in front). This includes bookies, bar, toilets and food facilities.
    • All horse areas will be shut off by a barrier. Areas will be clearly marked and security guards will be present.
    • Full biosecurity for all involved in the red zone (area where authorised people are coming into contact with horses) this includes cleaning shoes/ changing clothes and washing hands etc when leaving.
    • Jockeys have to have clean gear and not be in contact with other horses for the previous 72 hrs.
    • All barrier attendants must not have had contact with risk areas.
    Download excerpts (3.8MB) from the media conference with Minister for Primary Industries, Ian Macdonald from the Audio downloads page.
    More information: Equine Influenza | NSW Department of Primary Industries
    NSW Equine Influenza: 1800 675 888
     
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    Local horse business hit hard but owner signs up to help in the fight against EI



    Rebecca Booth has been running her successful holistic horse health business, Elementals Equine Therapies, since 2003. Things were so good that on August 3rd 2007 she quit her job to concentrate on the business full time.
    "For those first two weeks I was flat out, it was great and I knew I had made the right decision to quit my full-time job. That all changed when horse flu hit and I was forced to temporarily stop horse massaging," Ms Booth said.
    The Appin horse practitioner said the timing was almost comical, but is a firm believer that all areas of the horse industry should act responsibly at this time.
    "It’s still hard to believe that something like this has happened and brought my business and many others across NSW, to a complete standstill," she said.
    "I have massaged all sorts of horses including race horses, all types of
    performance horses and the family pony. Although I adhere to strict sterilisation procedures for all of my work, owners are not keen to have anyone on their property that doesn’t need to be there." With only the product side of the business operating Rebecca decided to start casual work until things returned to normal. After contacting a local agency they placed here at the Local Disease Control Centre (LDCC) based at Camden.
    "It’s quite ironic when you think about it; the thing that has forced me to slow my business right down is also what is enabling me to put food on the table. Horse flu or not, five horses, four dogs and four cats all still need feeding and looking after.
    Rebecca said the number of people working at LDCC really surprised her.
    "The level of commitment that is being shown 7 days a week is pretty astonishing. Most aren’t horse people, are away from home for long periods of time and are using all of their skills to help contain this outbreak and eradicate it from NSW and indeed Australia.
    "I would prefer to be visiting and massaging horses because it’s what I love doing, but for now I am happy to be able to do my bit in the front line fight against EI," Ms Booth said.
     
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    Report sick horses or face charges



    18 Sep 2007
    Horse owners throughout the State are reminded that they have a legal responsibility under the Exotic Diseases Act to report any horse displaying flu-like symptoms.
    NSW DPI deputy chief veterinary officer, Steve Dunn, said reporting ill horses is vital to stop any further spread of equine influenza (EI).
    "While most people are doing the right thing and reporting sick horses we are still receiving tip offs that some horse owners are not reporting," he said
    "Failure to report could have widespread and serious implications in terms of our eradication program.
    "Everyone has a responsibility under the Act to report, anyone who is found to have ignored this directive faces the full force of the law," Mr Dunn said.
    The maximum penalty for non reporting is $22,000.
    Clinical signs of EI include a deep dry hacking cough, a watery nasal discharge that may become cloudy or coloured, a sudden increase in temperature, depression, loss of appetite, laboured breathing, muscle pain and muscle stiffness.
    Clinical signs must be reported to the NSW DPI hotline on 1800 675 888
     
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    Endurance riders take the electronic path to tackle EI



    18 Sep 2007
    Endurance riders have been tackling equine influenza (EI) head on by equipping themselves with accurate information from NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) and spreading the word online.
    Vice-president of the Australian Endurance Riders Association (ERA), Kerry Spratt said she arranged to get information and press releases by email from NSW DPI to send directly to the NSW ERA chat line.
    "NSW DPI has been an invaluable source of timely and accurate information. Because it was in an electronic format we could put it straight onto our online forum," Ms Spratt said.
    "We were getting accurate information about EI from the start which meant we were able to immediately dispel any myths and misinformation we came across."
    And the EI message has spread further than the 500-strong ERA chat line.
    "Our network has been extended through face-to-face and telephone contact with other horse riders and owners.
    "Information on proper decontamination techniques has been particularly useful.
    "And we’ve been keen to get the message out to all horse owners in restricted areas that they should register their animals with NSW DPI," she said.
    Gosford-based Ms Spratt is currently in Western Australia to attend the Australian ERA Tom Quilty Gold Cup at Mundijong, south-east of Perth.
    "I’ve made sure that I thoroughly showered, scrubbed my nails, washed my hair and decontaminated all my clothes including footwear."
     
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    Second Dubbo property tests positive for EI



    18 Sep 2007
    A second Dubbo property has tested positive to equine influenza (EI) and horses on three nearby properties are showing symptoms of highly contagious disease.
    The new infected property is located about 2.5 km south across the river from the first Dubbo property that went down with EI.
    "This infection follows the trend in other parts of the State where spread to nearby properties is occurring," NSW deputy chief veterinary officer, Steve Dunn, said today.
    "NSW DPI and Rural Lands Protection Board (RLPB) have vets working on these cases now. Mapping and surveillance teams are monitoring the Dubbo situation."
    These properties are all within the established EI Restricted Area.
    "Yesterday it was announced that vaccine will be used in newly established buffer zones.
    "We are now looking at deploying vaccine to Dubbo and use it to hem in the known disease areas and stop lateral transfer be creating a ring of immunity around hotspots."
    "Since day one of the outbreak we have said that this virus can be carried on the wind.
    "However, the biggest risk is horses, people, clothes, and equipment.
    "People movements between properties should only occur if absolutely necessary and with strict hygiene procedures followed."
    Mr Dunn said stamping out EI can only be achieved by strong support from industry, isolating infected animals and implementing strong movement controls, especially close to infected properties.
     
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    Equine influenza in Australia can be controlled and eradicated----------------------------------------------------------
    Rigorous and regularly reviewed protocols for the importation of horses
    into Australia have been in place for many decades. These protocols were
    for example a major focus of renewed attention in the context of the
    equestrian events at the 2002 Sydney Olympic Games and for the movement of
    foreign horses for events such as the Melbourne Cup, one of Australia's
    premier thoroughbred racing events.
    Prior to the entry of the equine influenza virus into Australia, 8 Aug
    2007, these protocols have been generally successful. There was a single
    introduction of an exotic virus disease in 2001 when West Nile virus was
    carried by an infected shuttle stallion from Canada into the Eastern Creek
    quarantine station in western Sydney. The infected stallion became
    seriously ill and euthanasia was considered imminent. The horse recovered
    and was released from quarantine and there was no further transmission of
    the virus. Such transmission would not have come from the infected stallion
    since horses are considered 'dead-end' hosts for the virus. West Nile virus
    is spread only by mosquitos from birds that serve as intermediate,
    long-term reservoir hosts and produces encephalitis in both horses and
    humans with high morbidity and high case mortality rates.
    In contrast to West Nile virus, equine influenza is a self-limiting
    disease. Individual horses clear the virus within 2 weeks following
    infection and there is no long-term carrier status after recovery and there
    are no known alternative or reservoir hosts. These features render equine
    influenza eminently controllable and eradicable.
    Equine influenza is endemic in most countries of the world with the
    exceptions of South Africa, Japan, New Zealand, and Australia. South Africa
    has had 2 equine influenza outbreaks in recent years and Japan, prior to
    the present outbreak, had recorded a single outbreak in 1972. The success
    of South Africa and Japan in eradicating equine influneza is the path that
    Australia should pursue until the last case.
    There is still uncertainty about the events that allowed the introduction
    of equine influenza virus into Australia. It seems that there may have been
    a series of departures from generally accepted quarantine protocols. A
    first matter to be explained are the circumstances that allowed the
    introduction of equine influenza into Japan prior to 8 Aug 2007 where it
    remained undetected until 15 Aug 2007. The outbreak in Japan has been
    extensive with more than 1000 horses infected and has caused major economic
    losses. The vaccination status of the Japanese horses that have been
    infected is a matter of interest.
    It is notable that the first diagnosis of equine influenza in Japan was one
    week after the horses left Japan for Australia. There are important matters
    for enquiry here. Pre-embarkation protocols for horses travelling to Japan
    and to Australia should have guaranteed that no equine influenza virus
    could enter either country and similarly post-arrival quarantine protocols
    should have guaranteed that if the virus did enter it should not have
    escaped to the general horse populations in either country.
    A 2nd series of post-embarkation events appears to have allowed the
    transmission of equine influenza virus from one of 13 stallions from Japan
    to other horses in New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland. Currently there
    are 1183 infected premises in NSW and more than 120 infected premises in
    Queensland. These numbers are rising gradually on a daily basis and are
    expected to continue to increase in the coming weeks. The good news is that
    all of the new infected premises so far are located within presently
    defined control areas.
     
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