UPDATE 6th OCTOBER

Defra has indicated that all in contact horses have initially tested negative for EIA

BEVA Members and Veterinary surgeons may also find the following article of interest - giving the US perspective on EIA:

http://www.thehorse.com/ViewArticle.aspx?ID=19998


ORIGINAL ARTICLE:

Defra has confirmed that a case of Equine Infectious Anaemia (EIA) has been detected in a horse in Cornwall.

The affected horse will be humanely destroyed and all other precautions were promptly taken to prevent infection from spreading, including movement restrictions on the premises at which it was stabled.

Equine Infectious Anaemia (EIA) is a viral disease that affects horses, mules and donkeys and is most commonly spread by biting insects such as horse flies. There is no treatment and horses do not recover from the disease, which can be fatal.

The Health Protection Agency has said EIA cannot be spread from animals to people and is not a risk to human health.

The disease does not spread quickly and is unlikely to spread widely from infected horses as the flies that transmit the disease only travel short distances to feed.

Horses stabled alongside the infected animal(s) are currently being tested for signs of disease.

Further information on Equine Infectious Anaemia:

Equine Infectious Anaemia is a virus disease of horses causing intermittent fever, anaemia, emaciation and death. It is transmitted normally is through large biting flies such as horseflies or stable flies.

It's a rare condition and the last case of EIA in the UK was confirmed in September 2010.

Transmission of the disease may occur where there are adult flies of this type in proximity to infected horses. The adult flies are usually active between May and October, with activity peaking in July-August. The flies normally travel no more than 200m to feed so it is very unlikely infected flies to spread far from the point of an infected horse.  It can also be spread by procedures that might result in transmission of small amounts of blood from an infected horse to penetrate the skin of another horse.

The incubation period is variable, from a matter of days to a few months but generally one to three weeks. It can be fatal for horses but even if a horse recovers it remains infectious for life [which is why it is important to destroy animal infected with the condition]. It is a notifiable disease and if suspected must be reported to a vet.

For further information, please visit the Equine Infectious Anaemia pages on the Defra website at http://archive.defra.gov.uk/foodfarm/farmanimal/diseases/atoz/eia/