While there continue to be infrequent outbreaks of EHV-1 with both respiratory and neurological signs in Europe and the UK, British Equestrian’s Equine Infectious Disease Advisory Group (EIDAG) has concluded that the prevalence of EHV-associated disease has returned to its typical background level.
A quarantine process was put in place by British Showjumping, British Eventing and British Dressage after EHV-1 spread was linked to competitions in the Iberian Penninsula in March, in order to contain any spread of the disease to British shores. All horses linked to these shows will have completed the process early next week and we can report that none showed any clinical signs on EHV on returning home.
With immediate effect, this quarantine requirement has now been lifted and horses can return to UK without any need to isolate. Horses going to European competitions may be required by the FEI to have pre-event testing and, for longer competitions, screening will be continuing during the competition. This, together with other biosecurity measures put in place by the FEI, gives confidence that quarantine is no longer needed. However, similar restrictions will be re-activated if there are further EHV outbreaks and our experience this spring suggests that this is an effective means to protect British horses. Yards are urged to operate under a strict biosecurity plan to preserve the health of their horses and minimise the spread of infection and disease.
Prof Celia Marr, Chairman of the EIDAG said “The EHV situation in March was an important wake up call for us all – riders and owners should always be vigilant and take great care to monitor horses returning from competitions and introducing new horses to the yard, whether abroad or in the UK, because serious diseases like EHV and Strangles can spread anytime groups of horses mix. Stringent biosecurity practice should be a priority on all yards.”