The Animal Health Trust has continued to diagnose cases of equine influenza in the UK through September and October. Areas affected since 10th September include CORNWALL, CUMBRIA, ESSEX, SOMERSET, STAFFORDSHIRE, SUSSEX and WORCESTERSHIRE in England, and EAST LOTHIAN, PERTHSHIRE, SCOTTISH BORDERS and SOUTH AYRSHIRE in Scotland. Some of the affected horses had recently travelled from other areas of the UK, whilst some had recently been imported from Ireland.

Please be on the lookout for the classic influenza signs including a harsh dry cough, nasal discharge, pyrexia and inappetance - particularly in these areas, or in horses that have recently been transported. Signs may be mild in vaccinated horses.

You can send in samples to the AHT for free diagnosis by using your equine flu swabbing kits and by taking paired blood samples. If you need any more information or more kits and submission forms please contact the AHT or see http://www.equiflunet.org.uk/ for the latest information.

Please remember we can test your samples for free through the sentinel practice scheme. Click here to sign up.

VIRUS CHARACTERISATION UPDATE: Analysis of all of the viruses isolated so far from these outbreaks has shown that they belong to clade 2 of the Florida sublineage of H3N8 equine influenza. They share the amino acid substitution at position 144 of the HA protein with other equine influenza viruses isolated in the UK in recent years. Further characterisation is currently underway at the AHT.