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Equine disease surveillance: quarterly update

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Equine disease surveillance headlines

  • Update on equine influenza outbreaks in the UK

  • Summary of UK disease surveillance for July to September 2019

Equine influenza update

This year has seen a very high level of equine influenza outbreaks across the UK and Europe (Fig 1). Outbreaks were first reported in France in December 2018, with the UK noting outbreaks from 2 January 2019.

Fig 1: Equine Influenza outbreaks reported in Europe from 1 January to 11 October 2019

Virological analysis of the virus confirmed that all outbreaks involved a Florida clade 1 strain.

The UK has a much lower level of vaccinated horses in comparison to Europe

The majority of outbreaks were confirmed in June and July (Fig 2)and this is largely thought to be due to the high mixing of horses that occurs at this time of year. The UK saw the highest number of outbreaks of any country, and a hypothesis for why this occurred is that the UK has a much lower level of vaccinated horses in comparison to Europe, with unconfirmed reports of only 30 to 40 per cent of horses being vaccinated.

Fig 2: Equine Influenza outbreak curve for outbreaks reported globally from 1 January to 11 October 2019

Outbreak reports have reduced since August, with no outbreaks confirmed in September. October saw a confirmed outbreak in the UK involving an imported horse (see for more information and up-to-date reports). The industry must remain vigilant to this ever-present threat.

About this report

This report is produced by Defra, the Animal Health Trust (AHT) and the British Equine Veterinary Association. It is a shortened version of the full report for the quarter. The full report and all previous reports can be accessed on the AHT’s website at

This report collates equine disease data arising from multiple diagnostic laboratories and veterinary practices throughout the UK. The data presented are taken from various sources and must be interpreted with caution, as there is likely to be some bias in the way that samples are submitted for laboratory testing. For …

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