EIA Reported in Great Britain

Animal health authorities have confirmed two cases of equine infectious anemia (EIA) in Wiltshire, England. The two horses were recently imported from Romania via Belgium, noted a statement from the Department for the Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

The infected horses will be euthanized and other horses on the Wiltshire premises will be tested.

Wiltshire, England

"This is the first case of equine infectious anemia infected animals being imported into Great Britain since 1976 and shows the success of our post import testing regime," said Chief Veterinary Officer Nigel Gibbens, BVetMed, MSc, MRCVS. "These were apparently healthy horses carrying a notifiable disease that we are keen to keep out of Great Britain."

The animals arrived in a group of 10 horses, nine of which originated from Romania and were tested for EIA as part of routine post-import testing. The other seven Romanian horses tested negative. The tenth horse, which originated in Belgium, is due to be tested shortly.

Equine infectious anemia is an untreatable disease for horses, spread by the exchange of bodily fluids, including via insect vectors. Affected horses remain infectious carriers for life, and must be euthanized or quarantined for life to prevent transmission to other horses. It is considered a notifiable disease in the European Union, including the UK, but is considered endemic in Romania and Italy. A horse's EIA status is confirmed using a method called the Coggins test.

A major outbreak of EIA occurred in Ireland in 2006.

About the Author

Erin Ryder

Erin Ryder is a former news editor of The Horse: Your Guide To Equine Health Care.

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