African Horse Sickness Outbreak in South Africa Deadly

More than 90 cases of African horse sickness (AHS) have been confirmed in South Africa this year and more than 50 horses have succumbed to the disease, according to a report from the South Africa-based news website Cape Times.

African horse sickness is a fatal viral disease spread by Culicoides--tiny, blood-sucking insects--that can affect horses, mules, and donkeys, as well as dogs and camels. Horses are most susceptible to AHS, with a 75-90% mortality rate. A vaccine is available, but no effective treatment methods exist for infected horses. For survivors, recovery is slow.

The outbreak has prompted authorities to restrict the movement of horses into the Western Cape in an attempt to control the spread of the disease from affected areas into that region.

A statement from the Western Cape Department of Agriculture suggests that the high number of cases could have resulted from "persistent high rainfall in the rest of the country," according to

Check back to for more information as it becomes available.

About the Author

Erica Larson, News Editor

Erica Larson, News Editor, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in three-day eventing with her OTTB, Dorado, and enjoys photography in her spare time.

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