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Equine disease surveillance: quarterly update

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Equine disease surveillance headlines

  • Update on the outbreaks of equine viral arteritis in the UK

  • Summary of UK disease surveillance for April to June 2019

  • Focus on a practical approach to preventing equine influenza

Equine news round up

Equine viral arteritis

On 4 April 2019, the UK’s chief veterinary officer (CVO) confirmed two cases of equine viral arteritis (EVA) in non-thoroughbred stallions on a premises in Dorset. A third case was confirmed in an additional stallion on the same premises on 15 April 2019. A fourth case was then confirmed in a non-thoroughbred stallion at a premises in Devon on 10 May 2019 and this case has epidemiological links to the outbreak in Dorset.

On 31 July 2019, the UK CVO confirmed a further case of EVA on a premises in Shropshire. This outbreak appears to be unrelated to the cases in Devon and Dorset. The affected horse was an unvaccinated non-thoroughbred stallion with no clinical signs of disease. It had not been used for breeding activities in the UK and was undergoing prebreeding screening by PCR on semen. Under the EVA Order 1995, the case was reported to the regional veterinary lead at Defra and investigations are ongoing.

Because infected stallions can become persistent carriers of the virus, and continue to shed it in semen, the owner of the stallion intended to castrate it and will complete serological testing of all contacts for disease clearance, in accordance with the requirements of the Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) code of practice for EVA.

Before the confirmation of the outbreaks in April this year, the last reported case of EVA in the UK was in 2012. Because the disease is endemic in many parts of mainland Europe and because the majority of cases are subclinical and there is the potential for a chronic carrier status in stallions, postimport testing, heightened vigilance and prebreeding …

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