British African Horse Sickness Control Strategy Published

The British Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has published a 47-page document regarding control strategies for African horse sickness (AHS) should the disease ever be found in Great Britain.

In November David Health, MP, British Minister of State for Agriculture and Food, signed the African Horse Sickness (England) Regulations 2012 into law after they were introduced to the British Parliament in October. The regulations outline who must be notified if a horse in England is suspected of having AHS, steps to take once a horse is suspected or confirmed as having AHS, area AHS controls, and AHS vaccinations. The regulations also cover AHS guidelines for surveillance and management in equine slaughterhouses and in feral or wild horses.

"The African Horse Sickness (England) Regulations 2012 and The African Horse Sickness (Scotland) Order 2012 provide the legal powers to allow the control of African horse sickness (AHS); this control strategy describes how these powers will be used," the text of the newly completed control strategy reads.

The full text document is available online from DEFRA.

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.

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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