Australian Vet: Horse Standstill is Working to Contain Influenza

The ongoing horse standstill in New South Wales (NSW) is working and has dramatically slowed the spread of equine influenza (EI) according to the NSW chief veterinary officer, Bruce Christie.

"EI is confirmed on 401 properties but most are contained within a band that runs from Sydney and its surrounds to the Central Coast, the Hunter Valley and the northwest of the State," Christie said. "There has been only one outlying spot outbreak in the last four days--which is excellent news."

Vast areas of NSW remain free from the virus including the south and southwest, Northern Rivers, New England, and the west.

Isolated spot outbreaks have occurred near Wauchope, Mudgee, Berry, Walcha, Dubbo, and Parkes.

"Most newly infected properties are located within the known area, where there is a higher incidence of the disease and dense horse populations," Christie said. "The spread has been mainly caused by horse-to-horse contact and people in contact with horses."

NSW Department of Primary Industries advised horse owners to isolate horses on or near infected properties and, where possible, to create boundary buffers within individual properties.

Area veterinarians are working on a plan to stop the slow creep of the virus within restricted areas in NSW.

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