EVA Video Available; Rule in the Works

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has released a video entitled "Equine Viral Arteritis (EVA): A Manageable Problem." EVA is an acute, contagious viral equine disease that can cause fever, respiratory illness, ocular inflammation, edema (swelling), weakness or sickness in foals, and abortion. It can be transmitted through respiratory or venereal routes.

The disease came into the spotlight following a 1984 epidemic on Kentucky Thoroughbred breeding farms. Major restrictions put in effect by foreign countries on the movement of horses from the United States still exist as a result, impeding international trade in equids and semen. Currently, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) does not have a program to control EVA in the United States because the disease has not been considered widespread, and outbreaks are sporadic. This is about to change because according to officials, the United States has become a "dumping ground" for EVA. The equine industry has requested that APHIS initiate surveillance, control, and possibly eradication programs.

An Advanced Notice of Proposed Rule Making was published in the USDA's Federal Register last fall (http://www.thehorse.com/ViewArticle.aspx?ID=1336), and APHIS collected public comment. "We are going to propose a rule, and in order to do that, (the public) needs to understand the disease first," explains Tim Cordes, DVM, Senior Staff Veterinarian with the National Animal Health Staff, Veterinary Services, APHIS. "This is really representing the new generation of USDA--we're saying, 'Look, we don't want to regulate EVA unless you want to.' We're seeking public comment." The rule should be complete in six months.

The video and booklet are a major way USDA is promoting understanding of the disease. The information was compiled by Cordes, Peter J. Timoney, MVB, PhD, FRCVS, Director of the Maxwell H. Gluck Equine Research Center at the University of Kentucky, and William H. McCollum, MS, PhD, a professor in equine viral diseases at the Gluck Center.

"EVA can be a source of considerable economic loss, especially for the horse breeding industry," noted the authors. "It is high time, therefore, that a more rigorous effort be made to achieve greater control over this infection at the national level. The success of any voluntary prevention and control program against EVA will be critically dependent on your involvement and support."

The free video is 13 minutes long, and is available by contacting Dr. Tim Cordes, 4700 River Road, Unit 43, Riverdale, MD 20737; 301/734-7964; or Timothy.R.Cordes@aphis.usda.gov. Please type "EVA Video" in the subject line.

About the Author

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief, received a B.A. in Journalism and Equestrian Studies from Averett College in Danville, Virginia. A Pony Club and 4-H graduate, her background is in eventing, and she is schooling her recently retired Thoroughbred racehorse, Happy, toward a career in that discipline. She also enjoys traveling, photography, cycling, and cooking in her free time.

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