Piroplasmosis: The Olympic Question

(The following information was presented by Lee Brooks, DVM, the state veterinarian for Georgia, at the American Horse Council's Horse Health Committee meeting. Following this information is a summary from Georgia and the USDA giving background information on piroplasmosis and the waivers under which the horses will compete in the Olympics.)

Summary of Health Requirements For Entry of Equine Into The Georgia International Horse Park (GIHP) During the 1996 Summer Olympic Games

The Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) State Veterinarian directs interstate movement of equine into Georgia and implements programs designed to control equine diseases. The GDA also supports the cooperative spirit of the Olympic Games to assure that all equine are treated equally and fairly. Therefore, the health requirements for entry of equine into the GIHP during the 1996 Summer Olympic Games will closely follow the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) requirements for imported athletes.

All equine that enter the GIHP between July 1 and Aug. 7, 1996, must comply with the conditions below. This includes, but is not limited to, Modern Pentathlon athletes, demonstration participants, mounted patrol horses, U.S. Equestrian Team athletes*, and other Olympic athletes* entering the GIHP.

*In the event that a dressage or jumping Olympic athlete (either foreign or domestic) tests positive for equine piroplasmosis, the athlete may be allowed entry into Georgia if the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) includes that animal into the Piroplasmosis Control Program, including isolation in the Piroplasmosis Restriction Area of the GIHP. Three-day event Olympic athletes that test positive for equine piroplasmosis will not be allowed entry into Georgia.

Prior To Entry Into The GIHP:

1. A Certificate of Veterinary Inspection must be issued within 30 days prior to entering the GIHP. Certificates of Veterinary Inspection may be issued by a state or federal regulatory veterinarian (if allowed by the state veterinary practice act) or a licensed, accredited veterinarian. The temperature of the animal must be normal and it must be recorded on the Certificate. Any animal with a temperature exceeding 102 degrees Fahrenheit will not be permitted entry.

An entry permit number must be obtained from the Georgia State Veterinarian's office prior to entering the GIHP, and this number must be recorded on the Certificate. Information from the Certificate is needed to receive a permit number. Permit numbers should be received several days in advance and may be obtained by calling 404/656-3667 (Georgia State Veterinarian's office) between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The majority of the Olympic athletes will be traveling directly from the import quarantine station to the GIHP and the above conditions will be met by the regulatory port veterinarians at no additional inconvenience. For horses acclimating on farms for less than 30 days from release from import quarantine, the state/USDA veterinary regulatory agency in that state must be contacted to provide the Certificates of Tick and Vehicle Inspection on the day of departure for the GIHP. For horses acclimating on farms for more than 30 days from release from import quarantine, the state/USDA veterinary regulatory agency in that state must be contacted to provide a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection, a piroplasmosis test, and Certificates of Tick and Vehicle Inspection. Certificate issuance and piroplasmosis testing by regulatory officials should be conducted at no cost.

2. A negative test for Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) must be conducted within 12 months prior to entry into the GIHP. Either the Agar Gel Immunodiffusion (AGID) or Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) test will be acceptable. The name and address of the USDA approved testing laboratory, laboratory accession number, date of the test, and test results must be recorded on the Certificate of Veterinary Inspection.

3. A negative complement fixation test for equine piroplasmosis must be conducted within 30 days prior to entry into the GIHP. If results are anticomplementary, then a negative Indirect Fluorescent Antibody (IFA) test will be acceptable. The name and address of the testing laboratory (i.e. National Veterinary Services Laboratory; NVSL), laboratory accession number, date of the test, and test results must be recorded on the Certificate of Veterinary Inspection. Any dressage or jumping Olympic athlete that tests positive for piroplasmosis must comply with the Piroplasmosis Control Program protocol as directed by the Georgia and U.S. Departments of Agriculture.

4. All equine must be free of ticks upon entry into the GIHP. A Certificate of Tick Inspection must be completed by a state or federal veterinary medical officer (VMO) stating that he/she has inspected the animal the day of departure and found no evidence of ticks. Copies of the Certificate of Tick Inspection should be made to accommodate each shipment and a copy of the Certificate of Tick Inspection must accompany each distribution copy of the Certificate of Veterinary Inspection.

Every person responsible for the transportation of that equine to the GIHP is responsible to ensure that the animal is free of ticks upon arrival at the GIHP. All equine may be subject to inspection for ticks upon arrival at the GIHP by state or federal agriculture regulatory personnel. If ticks are discovered on any animal, the entire shipment will be treated with an acaricide approved by the Georgia State Veterinarian.

5. All vehicles transporting equine must be free of ticks prior to loading and upon arrival at the GIHP. A Certificate of Vehicle Inspection must be completed by a state or federal VMO stating that he/she has inspected the vehicle on the day of departure and found it clean and sanitary, and that it does not contain hay or bedding that is conducive to tick harborage. (Bedding must be limited to shredded paper or fresh wood shavings.) Copies of the Certificate of Vehicle Inspection should be made to accommodate each vehicle and a copy of the Certificate of Vehicle Inspection must accompany each distribution copy of the Certificate of Veterinary Inspection.

All vehicles may be subject to inspection for ticks upon arrival at the GIHP by state or federal agriculture regulatory personnel. If ticks are discovered in any part of the vehicle, all equine in the shipment will be inspected for ticks and will be subject to
acaricide treatments as described above.

Departure From The Georgia International Horse Park

1. Equine remaining in the United States will have a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection issued by a GDA or USDA regulatory veterinarian at no cost prior to their final departure from the GIHP. The name and address of the consignor, consignee, and shipper (if different from the consignor) will be listed. The temperature of the animal will be recorded on the Certificate. An entry permit number will be obtained from the state veterinarian's office of the state of destination prior to departure and the number will be recorded on the Certificate.

All said equine will be determined tick-free upon departure from the GIHP by a state or federal regulatory veterinarian at no cost and a Certificate of Tick Inspection will accompany the Certificate of Veterinary Inspection. All vehicles transporting said equine from the GIHP will be inspected for ticks on the day of departure by a state or federal regulatory veterinarian at no cost and a Certificate of Vehicle Inspection will accompany the Certificate of Veterinary Inspection.

2. The negative test requirement for Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) for the state of destination will be verified by a GDA or USDA regulatory veterinarian. The complete EIA test information will be transferred from the entry Certificate of Veterinary Inspection and recorded on the departing Certificate of Veterinary Inspection.

3. All equine remaining in the United States after leaving the GIHP will have a blood sample collected for a complement fixation test for equine piroplasmosis prior to their final departure from the GIHP. The collection date will be recorded on the Certificate of Veterinary Inspection and a copy of the Specimen Submission Form will accompany the Certificate that is forwarded to the state veterinarian of the state of destination.

Blood samples will be collected by a GDA or USDA regulatory veterinarian at no cost and shipped to NVSL for testing. Test results will be forwarded to the consignor and to the state veterinarian of the state of destination.

4. Any equine which remains in the state of Georgia after leaving the GIHP must have a follow-up complement fixation test for equine piroplasmosis conducted between 30 and 60 days after leaving the GIHP. Blood samples may be collected by a GDA or USDA regulatory veterinarian or by a licensed, accredited veterinarian. All participants which return to other states are strongly encouraged to retest their equine in accordance with this requirement.

Laboratory Procedure For Equine Piroplasmosis Testing

In an effort to support the Piroplasmosis Control Program implemented by the Georgia and United States Departments of Agriculture during the 1996 Olympic Summer Games, all equine piroplasmosis tests pertaining to the Olympic Games will be conducted at no cost by the National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa. If a licensed and accredited veterinarian is collecting the blood sample (in lieu of a state or federal regulatory veterinarian), he/she must call Dr. Joyce Bowling, Import Animals Staff, at 301/734-8170, or her assistant Betsy Sillers at 301/734-8145 at the time the sample is mailed/shipped to NVSL to receive billing clearance. Laboratory costs for any sample received at NVSL after Sept. 30, 1996, will be borne by the submitter.

Veterinarians may call John Ely, NVSL, at 515/239-8212 for other laboratory
information.

All costs related to compliance with this memorandum, excluding the NVSL laboratory testing and regulatory activities, must be borne by private parties.

The intention of the Piroplasmosis Control Program is to keep the GIHP core as tick-free as possible and to document the tick harborage and piroplasmosis status of all equine prior to entry and upon departure from the GIHP during the Olympic period of July 1-Aug. 7, 1996. The Georgia and U.S. Departments of Agriculture are coordinating with other state and federal regulatory veterinarians and consignors to assure that the above requirements are clearly communicated and expediently fulfilled.

Questions regarding these procedures should be directed to the office of the Georgia State Veterinarian.

About the Author

Lee Brooks, DVM

Lee Brooks, DVM, is the state veterinarian for Georgia.

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