Following the outbreak of neurological Equine Herpes Virus-1 (EHV-1) in Spain earlier this month, BEVA is urging horse owners, particularly returning competitors, to do all they can to prevent the spread of this fatal disease.
EHV-1 is a highly contagious virus that spreads between horses that are in close contact with one another. It can spread on people or objects but is more likely to spread horse to horse within the stable environment, and particularly in enclosed buildings such as American barns with shared air spaces. It does not spread over long distances in the air and is unlikely to spread between different buildings or yards without movement of horses, people or objects.
EHV-1, capable of causing neurological disease, has been spreading at showjumping events in Valencia. The movement of horses away from these events has resulted in the spread of virus to other premises in Europe and the Middle East.
“The consequences of this outbreak have been devastating and understandably, there is anxiety that horses returning to the UK may be carrying the virus and infection may spread back in the UK,” said David Rendle, Chair of BEVA’s Health and Medicines Committee. “To prevent this from happening, it is essential that returning competitors comply with the quarantine plans that have been put in place by British Showjumping.
“If returning horses are quarantined effectively, and ideally screened using suitable laboratory tests on their return, then the risk to the wider UK equine population is very small,” said David. “British Showjumping and the BEF have acted swiftly and responsibly with support from BEVA to put controls in place. Assuming that everyone continues to act responsibly and follow the advice then the risk of this fatal disease spreading among UK horses will be minimised.”
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