Australia Flu Outbreak: First Recovered Horses Allowed into Victoria

On December 17, 66 horses from New South Wales, Australia, will be the first allowed entry into the state of Victoria, 114 days after equine influenza (EI) was detected at stables in Sydney's Centennial Park.

"Today marks another milestone in our battle against EI and our efforts to get the state's horse industries back on their feet," said Minister for Primary Industries Ian Macdonald in a statement. "This is the first legal movement of horses into Victoria since the outbreak and more will follow. We will continue to work closely with the entire horse industry including the leisure, equestrian, and racing sectors, to ensure things get back to normal as quickly as possible."

The horses will be transported by truck from a William Inglis & Son quarantine facility at Newmarket to a quarantine facility in Victoria, arriving early Tuesday morning.

"This group of 66 horses is the first to meet tough new interstate travel biosecurity protocols," MacDonald said. "Each has previously been infected by horse flu, developed full immunity to the disease, and has made a successful recovery back to full health."

Each of these horses:

  • Has been tested at a NSW Department of Primary Industries laboratory to confirm they don't have the disease;
  • Is from a property now proven to be free of influenza through resolution testing;
  • Returned blood tests with strong antibodies, showing immunity exists.

Each truck will be decontaminated twice in Sydney before the horses are loaded.

Minister Macdonald said that as an extra measure, the animals have been under tight quarantine in NSW and will be placed under quarantine in Victoria when they arrive before being sold.

In NSW the number of infected properties has dropped from more than 5,000 to 2,554.

More than 45,000 doses of horse flu vaccine have been used as part of the state government's control and eradication campaign.

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