Equine Influenza: 3,208 Horses on 214 Infected Properties

Today (Sept. 6) saw the talley of equine influenza-infected horses and properties rise throughout the day in New South Wales (NSW), Australia, as test results were reported. As of 6:00 p.m. Sept. 6, there were 214 infected properties on which there are 3,208 horses, according to the NSW Department of Primary Industries. At that time there were 361 properties with 2,751 horses identified as dangerous contacts, with an additional 161 properties with 1,440 suspect horses, "although not all suspect horses will come down with the virus," government officials have said.

At 10:00 a.m. on Sept. 6, there were 186 confirmed infected properties, 353 dangerous contact properties, and 160 suspect properties.

As of 6:00pm on Sept. 5, there were 146 confirmed infected properties, 356 properties with 2,685 horses identified as dangerous contacts, and 174 properties with 1,522 suspect horses.

A press release from the government said the number of infected properties had increased, but the new infections were generally within existing restricted areas.

Current predictions by the government are that around 300 properties will eventually become infected during the course of the outbreak.

A policy to allow horses caught up by the standstill in other states to return to NSW has been approved and is operating.

Three new restricted areas have been declared: Caroona, Wauchope, and Cooyal (via Mudgee).

There is ongoing support for registration of horse owners in restricted areas in order for the government to develop comprehensive information to help release areas from quarantine in the future and to pinpoint suspect properties as soon as possible. More than 1,500 horse owners have registered through the government's Website or by fax. Thermometers have been sent to 283 owners, and 92 owners reported sick horses through that reporting facility.

"Ongoing industry support for self-registration and for self-monitoring of horses is of enormous importance in pinpointing suspect properties as soon as possible," noted the NSW Department of Primary Industries. It will also be important for developing comprehensive information to support the possible future release of areas from quarantine.

Phantom racing (also being called closed racing), where horses race, but fans aren't allowed on the track and must view the events on television monitors from other locations, will commence at Warwick Farm on Sept. 8 and Newcastle on Sept. 12. The government and racing officials hope this will provide much-needed economic relief for a major section of the NSW racing industry.

About the Author

Kimberly S. Brown

Kimberly S. Brown was the Publisher/Editor of The Horse: Your Guide To Equine Health Care from June 2008 to March 2010, and she served in various positions at Blood-Horse Publications since 1980.

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