Tuesday, January 19, 2010 - Mark Humph Mark Humph

BIOSECURITY ALERT: Equine Infectious Anaemia

Defra has confirmed, by positive Coggins (agar gel immuno diffusion assay), Equine Infectious Anaemia (EIA) in two horses in Wiltshire, England, following importation from Romania via Belgium.
Defra confirmed the positive tests late on 19th January 2010.The premises on which the two horses are kept is currently under restriction and the two infected horses will be humanely destroyed in line with existing regulations. The other horses on the premises will be subject to epidemiological investigation in the coming weeks. A further two horses have also been under investigation and test results have proved negative. The animals arrived in a group of 10 horses, nine of which originated from Romania and one from Belgium. The nine Romanian horses were tested for EIA as part of routine post-import testing. Seven horses all tested negative. The horse that originated in Belgium is due to be tested shortly.

The UK's Chief Veterinary Officer, Nigel Gibbens said: "This is the first case of equine infectious anaemia infected animals being imported into Great Britain since 1976 and shows the success of our post import testing regime. These were apparently healthy horses carrying a notifiable disease that we are keen to keep out of Great Britain. After considering the risk I have decided to take appropriate action and humanely destroy these two horses that tested positive".

More information may be available on this outbreak via the Defra website at http://www.defra.gov.uk.
Further information on EIA (including a link to further Q&A material) is available at:


The BEVA President, Madeleine Campbell, took part in a Defra-led teleconference on the issue late on 19th January 2010, and will be taking part in a follow-up conference during the afternoon of 20th January 2010. The BEVA website will be kept updated. Defra requests that all veterinary surgeons should bear in mind the potential for spreading EIA by the iatrogenic route, and should continue to follow best practice at all times when treating or testing animals or using equipment, such as dentistry equipment, on multiple animals.

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