Equine Flu: Portion of New South Wales Reclassified as Lower Risk

The campaign by the government of New South Wales (NSW) to rid the state of equine influenza reached another milestone yesterday, when a further 10 million hectares (38,600 square miles) were reclassified from high risk (amber) to lower risk (green).

Minister for Primary Industries Ian Macdonald said the downgrading of infection risk in large parts of the north coast, northern tablelands, and northwest came into effect after tests confirmed those areas are free of horse flu.

"This good news that shows we have turned the corner in our battle against the scourge of horse flu," Minister Macdonald said. "Horse owners in new green zone strips along the Queensland border east from Moree and down the north coast to Taree can now breathe a lot easier and begin moving their horses again.

Other areas now considered "green" include most of the Coonamble, Walgett, Warren, and Shoalhaven local government areas.

Map showing new zones for equine influenza control
COURTESY NSW DEPT. OF PRIMARY INDUSTRIES

Macdonald said successful containment of the virus within infected regions had enabled authorities to use proof-of-freedom testing to free up lower risk areas.

He said the quota of samples required for a zone to be eligible for a change from amber to green zone had been collected, and cleared as free from disease. Precautionary ongoing testing will continue.

"The government's aim is to progressively downgrade the risk in infected areas as the virus burns out, freeing up some movement restrictions, and progressively enabling the resumption of horse events," he said. "Keeping tight control over horse movements, improving horse immunity through second round vaccinations, and maintaining good biosecurity remains vital in high risk areas if we are to achieve our goal of eradicating horse flu.

"It is very important horse owners in the new green zone continue to play their role by following the general biosecurity and movement advice that will apply to all horse owners until horse flu is completely cleared from NSW," Macdonald said.

The new zoning breakdown is:

  • 73% of NSW is protected green zone;
  • 17% is amber;
  • 7% is red; and
  • 3% is purple.

More information about the new zoning, including the latest maps, is available via www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/equine-influenza.  

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