Equine Flu: New South Wales Officials Reclassifying Risk Areas

The government's campaign to eradicate equine influenza turned a corner today (Nov. 2) as a large part of New South Wales (NSW) was reclassified from high risk to lower risk, said Minister for Primary Industries Ian Macdonald.

Macdonald said the government has so far spent about $19 million to eradicate influenza from the state. He said the number of infected horses has been on the decline since a Sept. 26 peak.

Nearly half of the red "restricted" zone has been reclassified as part of the amber "control" area. Macdonald called the step the "single largest advance made on beating this disease" since vaccination began and the zone system was implemented.

"Testing has provided us with confidence that these areas are free from disease and can now be moved back to amber zone status," Macdonald said. "This is great news for the thousands of horse owners in these regions."

Phase two of the plan includes:

  • Continued revision of zoning boundaries;
  • Second round vaccinations targeting 18,000 plus animals;
  • Exhaustive proof-of-freedom testing along the north coast to ultimately move 15 local government areas from amber to green;
  • Further testing in other amber zones to move areas to protected green;
  • Vaccination of priority uninfected horses in the purple zone;
  • Continued public awareness and education on EI and the importance of biosecurity;
  • Whole of NSW government response through the state disaster plan;
  • Compliance monitoring to ensure horse owners are following zoning rules; and
  • Extension of the permit and traveling horse statement systems.

"Phase two of the EI protection plan efforts will now focus on proof-of-freedom testing and completion of second round horse flu vaccinations," Macdonald said. "Our intention has always been to contain the infection and ultimately eradicate it completely. This goal is reflected in our plan."

The new NSW zoning breakdown is:

  • 60% of NSW is protected green zone;
  • 29% is amber;
  • 8% is red; and
  • 3% is purple.

Equine Center

NSW flu protection zones as of Nov. 2.

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