EU Lifts Suspension of South African Horse Exports

The European Union has lifted a ban designed to stop the spread of African horse sickness, allowing horses from South Africa to again be exported to Europe, reports The Herald, a Port Elizabeth, South Africa, newspaper.

The ban was supposed to be lifted in April, but an outbreak this spring prompted authorities to extend the precaution another six months.

African horse sickness (AHS) is a fatal viral disease that can affect horses, mules, and donkeys, as well as dogs and camels. Horses are most susceptible to AHS, with a 75-90% mortality rate. A vaccine is available, but for infected horses, no treatment is known. For survivors, recovery is slow. The disease is spread by Culicoides--tiny, blood-sucking insects.

The two-year ban was imposed after an outbreak in 2004 reached the AHS-free zone in Cape Town and the southwestern tip of the country. The Herald reports that the flare-up this spring took place in Robertson, which is 100km (around 60 miles) from the AHS-free zone, but within the AHS control area.

Only horses from within the AHS-free zone can be exported.

For more information on African horse sickness, see  

About the Author

Erin Ryder

Erin Ryder is a former news editor of The Horse: Your Guide To Equine Health Care.

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