Following reports of equine influenza (EI) outbreaks linked to horses attending various events held in north-western France in the past few weeks, the Animal Health Trust's OIE reference laboratory for EI is asking equine veterinary surgeons to take full advantage of their on-going EI surveillance initiatives, which have been generously supported for many years now by the UK's Thoroughbred racing and breeding industry under the auspices of HBLB funding.
The AHT laboratories would be very happy to receive any samples from horses in which EI may be suspected and in particular from animals in yards where there may have been recent introduction of infection through return of animals from competition events, both here in the UK and from mainland Europe.
AHT and BEVA feel that this heightened surveillance activity for probably the most potentially infectious and rapidly spreading equine infectious disease is particularly important at this time, given that a) the London Olympics are now less than 3 months away, b) the most recent EI activity seen in France is among horses at an FEI event and c) there may be, based on the extent of the outbreaks described by RESPE, a picture emerging of significant vaccine failure.
Details on the AHT's surveillance scheme and how to obtain and submit swabs for free EI testing can be found on the AHT's EquiFluNet website at http://www.equiflunet.org.uk/.
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