Investigation of Unexplained Neurologic Cases in Australia Halted

The investigation into a number of undiagnosed and unexplained neurologic clinical signs present in some Australian horses was halted March 15 due to a strike at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), the organization that was processing the samples submitted by veterinarians.

A report from an Australian ABC affiliate explained that organization workers based at the Australian Animal Health Laboratory, located in Geelong, Victoria, began striking Tuesday "as part of a national campaign for higher wages."

According to ABC Rural, Sam Popovski, a representative of the CSIRO Staff Association, indicated that all work on the undiagnosed disease was stopped: "That work and all the work that is of that similar regard is affected. Staff are really committed to that work, and I'm sure they'll continue to, for the remainder of this week, work studiously on that issue. But at the moment, as I said, we are stopping work and we're not conducting that research."

The State Government of Victoria's Department of Primary Industries recently began asking veterinarians to submit samples from any horses displaying unexplainable neurologic signs after a spike in these cases earlier this month.

In Victoria, cases have been observed along the Murray River and in an area of approximately 50 kilometers around Ballarat. Unexplained neurologic cases have also been observed recently in South Australia and New South Wales. The main clinical sign observed has been ataxia (incoordination).

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 eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.

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