Defra has published a Qualitative assessment of the risk of introduction of Equine Infectious Anaemia (EIA) into Great Britain from an EIA endemic area through temporary movement of UK origin horses.  A copy of the report is attached.  The report is available to view on Defra's website.

Defra's expert assessment has found there is a very low risk of EIA being spread in the UK from British horses that have visited infected areas in Europe. However, this low risk remains dependent on owners and private vets regularly assessing horses for clinical signs, when abroad and back in the UK, and reporting any suspicion to the AHVLA

Further information:

  • A Defra qualitative risk assessment found there is a low risk of British horses getting infected with EIA when they travel for fewer than 10 days to endemic areas between October and April - unless they come into contact with contaminated equipment and needles. However, vectors, the main way the disease spreads, are active from April to October and the risk of infection rises during this time and could occur more regularly.
  • Based on this, the risk assessment found the risk of onward disease spread in the UK is very low. This is because EU rules on movement of horses are very strict, competition horses are very well supervised by owners and vets, and the risk of infected horses passing on the disease before they show symptoms is extremely low.
  • There is a negligible chance of EIA being spread by British horses that spend more than 10 days in endemic areas abroad because by law they must be tested when they return to the UK.

This risk level is determined based on the expectation that horse owners / keepers in UK and their private veterinary surgeons are aware of the endemic disease situation in Italy, the clinical signs of EIA and the requirement for horse owners to report any suspicion of disease to the relevant authorities.

 Further information about EIA can be viewed on Defra's website.