Australia Equine Flu: Cooperation Key to Eliminating Queensland Cases

All of the sectors involved in the equine influenza response in Queensland have been working cooperatively to eradicate equine influenza, and officials are starting to see the benefits of their effort.

According to Biosecurity Queensland's Chief Veterinary Officer Ron Glanville said the number of influenza cases is now quickly winding down. The virus came into Queensland in August and peaked in early October.

"This is testament to the hard work and united effort by various government agencies and industry groups, led by Biosecurity Queensland in the Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries (DPI&F), who have restricted the virus to the south east corner of the state," Glanville said.

"However, it is as important now as it ever was to ensure that everyone follows the rules and guidelines to the letter, to ensure that we continue moving forward," he added. "This is a critical time and everyone must be vigilant to help stop the spread of this virus."

Now that the number of new infections being reported is very low, it is more important than ever that horse owners report suspicious disease signs so that progress can be monitored accurately.

To date, the DPI&F has distributed more than 91,700 doses of the vaccine. Some significant changes to the zoning method (a plan to restrict equine movement in the infected and buffer areas) were introduced last Friday.

Glanville encouraged all horse owners, regardless of which zone they are in, to get the facts from the about the new changes from the government's official Web site before they move any horses, as strict conditions still apply in a large part of southeast Queensland.

Comments from representatives of some of the key organizations working with DPI&F reflect the partnership approach Queensland has adopted.

"The Australian Veterinary Association supports the strategy used by the Department of Primary Industries to contain equine influenza and we are working very closely with DPI," said Andrew Easton, BVSc MRCVS, Queensland division President. "The roll out of the vaccination program is progressing and our members are continuing to work very hard with the authorities to assist in any way possible."

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