European Union Increases Equine Import Restrictions

The European Commission of the European Union (EU) has notified the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Heath Inspection Service (APHIS) that import restrictions have been expanded to horses from Pennsylvania due to West Nile virus (WNV).  These restrictions are an extension of those previously in effect for horses from Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island. Changes to distance requirements, clarification on test requirements, and clarification on EU horses spending less than 21 days in the affected areas, were also made.

The updated requirements state that a supplementary certificate (see below) must be added to the animal health certificate for "the temporary admission of registered horses, the re-entry after temporary export of registered horses, and the imports and transit of equidae" coming from the six States named above.

The above does not apply to horses coming from areas outside the specified States which are "transported on main roads in transit without stopping through the areas specified ... directly to an airport situated within the areas specified ... for subsequent air transport to the Community.  During the transit and transhipment operations suitable measures must be taken to protect the equidae from vector insects."

The supplementary certificate required for imports of equidae into the EU from any of the six States specified currently reads as follows:

"The equine animal described in the above mentioned animal health certificate complies with one of the following conditions:

(1)  Either it comes from a holding situated in the centre of an area of at least 30 km radius around that holding where there was no case of West Nile Fever reported in equidae during the past 15 days, and had no contact during the preceding 15 days with equidae which have been resident on holdings where West Nile Fever was confirmed during the previous 30 days,(1)

Or

(2)  It comes from a holding situated within an area of 30 km radius around a holding on which West Nile Fever was confirmed in equidae during the previous 30 days and has prior to dispatch

    - either undergone pre-movement isolation under vector-protected conditions for a period of at least 21 days, or since entry from a Member State of the European Community, and during that period the body temperature taken daily remained within normal physiological range and has been subjected to a IG-M capture ELISA test for the detection of antibodies against West Nile virus with negative result, carried out on a blood sample taken not earlier than 17 days from the date the isolation commenced(1), or not more than 5 days prior to dispatch if entered from a Member State of the European Community for a period of less than 21 days(1)

      Or

    - been subjected to two tests for the detection of antibodies against West Nile virus, with negative result in the case of IG-M capture ELISA, and with positive result at a serum dilution of 1 in 100 in the case of either a IG-G capture ELISA(1), or a plaque-reduction neutralisation test(1), carried out on a blood sample taken within 21 days of dispatch(1)."

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(1)  Delete as appropriate

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