More African Horse Sickness?

A horse that died in late March on a farm on the border of the Worcester and Roberson Districts of the Western Cape of South Africa is being tested for African horse sickness (AHS), according to a report by Dianne Hawker first published in the Cape Argus newspaper this morning (April 11) and reprinted on

In a March report on, it was noted that South African horse owners and veterinarians were managing an outbreak of African horse sickness (AHS) in the George area, which is in southern South Africa (in the southeast region of the Western Cape). As of Feb. 28, 13 horses had died.

This latest case follows days after the removal of a European Union export ban on South African horses. Hawker noted that breeders feared an extension of the ban.

There is an "AHS-free zone," which is the metropolitan area of Cape Town at the southwestern tip of the nation.

African horse sickness is a fatal viral disease that can affect horses, mules, and donkeys. Horses are most susceptible to AHS, with a 75-90% mortality rate. The clinical signs of one AHS form include swelling around the eyes, neck, shoulders, thorax, and intermandibular space. Learn more about AHS at
African horse sickness is spread by Culicoides midges. Affected animals can show clinical signs ranging from pulmonary distress to heart failure, and the disease is often fatal. Owners are encouraged to vaccinate their horses against the disease. Currently, AHS is contained to its namesake continent, where nine serotypes of the disease circulate.

Hawker stated in her story, "Horse owners had been advised to keep horses in stables from early evening until early morning in order to keep them away from midges.They cannot be transported from the Worcester and Robertson Districts, and the affected farm is under quarantine. Owners have been advised to vaccinate horses."

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