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Equine Influenza
in Australia

How to prevent the Spread of Horse Flu
Government Contacts


What to do and what not to do

Biosecurity measures:
People such as farriers, equine dentists and chiropractors, horse strappers, vets and other animal carers should:
avoid moving between horses at different locations unless absolutely necessary.

After coming into contact with a horse:
disinfect all equipment used
shower, wash your hair and change into fresh clothing
disinfect footwear.

Movement restrictions:
Under the standstill, no horses of any type, including pets, riding club horses, show animals, donkeys or zebras are allowed to be moved.

    Owners can:
    ride a horse within the boundaries of a property where they are currently located and should not come into contact with horses from other farms or stables.

    Owners cannot:
    ride a horse to another property
    ride alongside roadsides
    ride within national parks or other recreation areas.


Equine Influenza SITUATION AT 5TH SEPTEMBER 2007
JOINT STATEMENT FROM EFAV, HRCAV, PCAV AND VAS

Victoria is currently free of Equine Influenza (EI) however, we need to remain vigilant. If we are to remain free of the virus it is extremely important that all our members maintain the highest level of care over the next few weeks.

As a result of the ongoing crisis and, on advice from the Dept of Primary Industries, the EFAV, HRCAV, PCAV and VAS (Victorian Agricultural Shows Inc) strongly recommend that their members refrain from conducting rallies, shows, events, clinics and other activities involving a gathering of horses during the month of September.

Organisers are warned that, should they proceed with planned activities, they do so against the recommendation of their parent body. Further, under their duty of care, organisers must consider the issues raised in the attached Bio Security Guidelines and ensure that they are able to implement both the procedures aimed at limiting the risk of infection as well as the containment requirements should an outbreak occur.

This recommendation will be reviewed by our organizations at the end of the month. We thank our members for their patience during this difficult period.

Event registration forms must be obtained , completed and send in to the appropriate body. Forms are avaliable from below links


This is the most up-to-date information on the Equine Influenza situation in NSW

Equine Influenza virus may have possibly come out of Eastern Creek Quarantine Station and transferred to a horse (yet unknown) that went to a One Day Event at Maitland on Saturday 18th August. Infection spread from Maitland to at least 50 other sites in NSW and at least one in Queensland. The NSW authorities are concentrating on tracing and checking all 250 horses that were at the Maitland event. They are also trying to identify how infection reached the Maitland event.

Equine Influenza is highly infective and has a very short incubation period. Just how infective can be seen from the 2 horses returning from Maitland to Centennial Park stables. They developed signs on about Tuesday 21st August. They spread the disease to 160 horses of the other 162 horses in the stables in less than a week.

Horses from Centennial Park went to competitions this past weekend at Parkes and Tamworth where further infections have been confirmed. Other movements of horses from Centennial Park are also being traced.

The authorities are still confident that the standstill will contain the disease as long as horse owners cooperate fully.

There are many horses that are being held at venues around NSW having been caught in the standstill during the weekend. If these horses remain free of infection over the next few days it can be assumed that there are no infected horses at that venue. These horses will be allowed to return home in due course under a permit system.

At venues where infection has developed, and this includes Parkes and Tamworth, the horses will have to be retained for an extended period. Other than movement restrictions there are no control procedures like animal destruction or vaccination being practised. The disease will burn itself out as long as animals are kept on property.

The current complete standstill of all horses will be extended and is being enforced by the Police and RTA. Any movements within NSW have to be approved by the Local Disease Control Centre.

These restrictions have come at a critically difficult time for the studs and breeding sector. There are a number of suspect properties located in and around the intensive breeding areas such as the Hunter Valley. While the disease situation is unclear it would be foolish to risk further spread of infection by allowing horse movements.

Movements of para-veterinary personnel such as farriers and dentists are to be restricted while the movement standstill is in place. Veterinary visits are to be kept to an absolute minimum. Veterinarians have been issued with Biosecurity guidelines to prevent transfer of infection. Guidelines are being developed to allow visits by horse para-veterinary personnel. We repeat that the risk of new infection is so great and the current position after only three days is so uncertain that the horse industry needs to err on the side of caution to ensure we eliminate the disease as quickly as possible.


Further information on equine influenza is available at http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/agriculture/livestock/horse/influenza
DISINFECTION AND APPROVED DISINFECTANTS

Equine influenza virus can easily be killed by vigorous cleaning and disinfection of potentially contaminated objects and is rapidly inactivated by exposure to ultraviolet light.

A dirty surface must always be cleaned thoroughly before it can be satisfactorily disinfected. Organic material such as dirt, manure and straw may neutralise the disinfectant and make it useless. It is therefore most important that anything that must be disinfected is first thoroughly washed and cleaned and finally washed down or sprayed with an approved disinfectant.

Virkon® at a 1:100 dilution rate is the disinfectant of first choice for use on clothing, footwear, transport vehicles and equipment. Where bulk disinfection of stables and buildings is required is required, other chemicals may be more cost-effective.

As disinfectants and chemicals can be irritant, persons handling them should always read the product label and follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and wear protective clothing as necessary.

Further information about cleaning and disinfection can be found in the AUSVETPLAN Decontamination Manual which is available on-line at http://www.animalhealthaustralia.com.au/programs/eadp/ausvetplan_home.cfm

For more information please visit the below

Department of Primary Industries Contact phone numbers

New South Wales - 1800 675 888
Victoria - 1800 678 779
Tasmania - 1800 675 888
South Australia - 1800 675 888
Western Australia - 1800 675 888
Queensland - 132 523
Australian Capital Territory - 1800 675 888
Northern Territory - 1800 675 888

Basic Steps to Preventing the Spread of Horse Flu

  • Keep your horse(s) at home or wherever they are currently situated. Even if your horses are well and you do not think they could have horse flu, do not attempt to move them even if you think there is a safer, a better or a more convenient place to keep them.
  • Look after your own horse(s) but avoid visiting horses at other places, even if they belong to friends and even if you think the other horses are well and not at risk of having horse flu. The greatest risk of spread is horse people visiting other horse people and / or horses!
  • Likewise, until the epidemic is over, don’t allow other people to visit your horses.
  • If you have absolutely no alternative to visiting other horses venues or horses (eg you work there or need to feed someone else’s horses) please shower and wash carefully and put on a completely fresh set of clothes (including shoes) after contact with your own horses and before you go to the other horses. Please repeat the process when you leave the other horses before you come home to your own horses. Do not put discarded clothes on again before washing them. Wash your clothes in a full wash cycle and scrub your shoes with a disinfectant for 5 minutes.
  • Horse equipment (saddles, bridles, rugs, feedbins, farrier tools, horse dentist equipment, vet equipment etc) are very difficult to disinfect and should only be used within one horse establishment / farm.
  • Horse flu is so infectious that you can safely assume that if one horse in your stables / farm has the disease, all the horses will get it. Precautions within your stables / farm are not necessary – but it is crucial that we cease the contact between horses in different stables / farms until the epidemic dies down.
  • If you suspect that your horse has horse flu (a deep hacking cough is the main symptom, but horses may have a temperature [normal horse temperature is 37.5 degrees to 38.5 degrees], a runny nose or be unwell) please contact your local vet. It is possible that your vet may be unable to attend your horses due to the scale of the epidemic – if so please ring the Disease Hotline on 1800 675 888.
  • Stay up to date on the epidemic by regularly (each day at least) visiting your horse organisation website or the Australian Horse Industry Council Website www.horsecouncil.org.au.  If you register on the Horse Emergency Contact Database (HECD) at www.horsecouncil.org.au you will receive updates by email.
  • (Prepared by Dr Vince Roche)

 

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