New South Wales to Deactivate Equine Flu Outbreak Precautions

Precautionary measures retained in New South Wales (NSW) since the eradication of equine influenza was confirmed in February will end at midnight on June 30.

From July 1 an official Traveling Horse Statement will not be required before moving horses, the remaining green zone will revert to white, and all equine influenza (EI) cross-border requirements will be removed. Event registrations will continue.

"Horse owners will now be free to move their horses anywhere in NSW and across state borders without any EI restrictions or reporting requirements," said Ian Macdonald, minister of primary industries.

This last step in the battle against EI brings Australia's largest ever exotic animal disease outbreak to a successful conclusion.

"Many international experts believed we could not eradicate EI," Macdonald noted. "We have again demonstrated our proud history of successfully eradicating animal diseases."

NSW chief veterinary officer Bruce Christie, BVSc, said that without the ongoing support, patience, and sacrifice of the recreational and professional horse sectors, EI would have become endemic.

"More than 47,000 horses on almost 6,000 properties have now recovered from EI infection and no longer carry the disease," Christie said. "To reach this point, strict movement restrictions were essential.

"We could not have controlled the spread of the EI virus without the ongoing cooperation of horse owners," Christie said.

The NSW disease control headquarters in Orange will be closed on June 30, but the emergency animal disease hotline will continue to operate.

As part of the equine influenza eradication campaign the NSW government:

  • Vaccinated approximately 50,000 horses for control purposes;
  • Provided vaccine for horse industry sectors to vaccinate more than 13,000 horses;
  • Established more than 20 control and vaccination centers across NSW;
  • Enlisted an EI workforce of about 2,000;
  • Implemented a successful zoning system to free-up movements, allow the breeding season to be undertaken and horse events to resume;
  • Implemented a response that included Rural Lands Protection Boards, NSW Police, RTA, State Emergency Service, Rural Fire Service, and NSW Health.
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