EIA in Georgia: Four Horses Test Positive, 94 Quarantined

Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Tommy Irvin announced last week that four horses in Chattooga County tested positive for equine infectious anemia (EIA) and have been euthanized. At press time, 94 other horses in the county had been quarantined due to possible exposure.

Equine infectious anemia is a viral disease that attacks the horse's immune system and is most commonly detected with the Coggins test. The virus is transmitted by the exchange of body fluids from an infected to a non-infected animal, often by blood-feeding insects such as horseflies. Once an animal is infected with EIA, it is infected for life and can be a reservoir for the spread of disease.

"For this reason, the Georgia Department of Agriculture requires euthanasia or lifelong quarantine for EIA-infected horses," said Irvin. "We also require testing for all horse sales and transfers of ownership," he added. A negative Coggins test also is required in Georgia at all horse shows and before horse owners are allowed to board at a stable.

Irvin said, "I encourage all horse owners in Chattooga County and surrounding areas to have their horses tested even if not selling or moving their horses. This is important in areas where there has been an outbreak."

With the exception of the four horses which tested positive, 93 of the other quarantined horses have tested negative. The remaining horse was a newborn colt which will be tested soon. Before any of the horses are released from quarantine, they will have to be tested again 45 days following their last exposure to an infected horse. If the owner of a positive horse chooses the quarantine option rather than euthanasia, the horse will have to be permanently kept at least 200 yards from other horses or roadways.

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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