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WRITING a science editorial regarding new aspects of equine grass sickness (EGS) is challenging at a time when we are eagerly awaiting results from vaccination trials and ongoing research, trying to identify the cause of EGS and factors involved in aetiopathogenesis.
Britain has remained the country most affected by this often fatal neurodegenerative disease, with EGS being one of the most important threats to equine health in some areas. To collate details of clinical cases in Great Britain, a nationwide surveillance scheme has been instituted (Wylie and others 2011). Similar to the Alert group for atypical myopathy, a European epidemiosurveillance network could be initiated for EGS, because the disease has also been reported in other countries, including Cyprus, Hungary and the Czech Republic (Protopapas and others 2012, Schwarz and others 2012; personal communication, B. Bezdekova). In north eastern Hungary, young horses (two to three years old) have been affected in outbreaks (Schwarz and others 2012) and the disease has now also occurred in west Hungary and the south of the Czech Republic, similar to the disease pattern that occurred when EGS was first described in the east of Scotland, with isolated ‘mini outbreaks’ occurring at distant locations, rather than a gradual spread (Wylie and others 2011; personal communication, S. Pirie). Larger numbers of EGS cases have also occurred in the Swiss Jura range (personal communication, L. Unger).
Since the excellent review on EGS by Newton and others (2010), quite a few …
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