Atypical Myopathy Outbreak Survival Rate Running at 5%

Survival rates are low in the current European atypical myopathy outbreak, according to an alert group led by Belgian researchers.

To date, at least 49 horses have died from the disease, as opposed to only four confirmed survivals in a total of 83 reported cases, said Gaby van Galen, DVM, MSc, Dipl. ECEIM, a primary researcher for the Atypical Myopathy Alert Group (AMAG) at the University of Liége. "We're still waiting for information about the others," she said.

France continues to have the vast majority of reported cases at 61. The United Kingdom is now reporting seven cases, and Germany four. The Netherlands has at least three but will be sending in more files soon, van Galen said. Belgium and Switzerland both have three cases each, and Sweden has only had one report so far.

Survival rate at this time is only 5%, based on the statistics of the reported data. The previous epidemic ended in December 2009 with a survival rate of 22%.

"This is a lower survival percentage than last autumn, at least for the moment," van Galen said. "But this is no reason to panic right away. Cases keep on being reported, and we are still waiting on complementary information for several. So this percentage might still change over time."

European horse owners are urged to follow preventive methods to protect their horses, according to van Galen and her research partner, Dominique Votion, DVM, PhD. These include keeping at-risk horses indoors, ensuring regular vaccinations and deworming, and providing concentrated nutritional supplements. More information is available at the AMAG website.

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About the Author

Christa Lesté-Lasserre, MA

Christa Lesté-Lasserre is a freelance writer based in France. A native of Dallas, Texas, Lesté-Lasserre grew up riding Quarter Horses, Appaloosas, and Shetland Ponies. She holds a master’s degree in English, specializing in creative writing, from the University of Mississippi in Oxford and earned a bachelor's in journalism and creative writing with a minor in sciences from Baylor University in Waco, Texas. She currently keeps her two Trakehners at home near Paris. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

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