Equine Infectious AnaemiaRecent posts
May 1st 2011 ~ Equine diseases: "UK is ill-prepared for an outbreak"
This is the conclusion of Roly Owers, the chief executive of World Horse Welfare. It rather echoes the quotation from Nigel Gibbens in the latest Horse and Hound:
"The September outbreaks of EIA showed how we can deal with incidents of the disease, but also that there is a real threat of the disease appearing in the UK."Mr Gibbens said he was "pleased that work with the new core group of equine stakeholders has very much improved the exchange of information between government and industry. But we can improve further and are now working on this."
Mr Owers will sit on the equine core group.
Professor Josh Slater, Professor in Equine Clinical Studies at the Royal Veterinary College and past president of the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA), is also quoted: "It is easy to think of exotic disease as something that happens somewhere else, but we all have our part to play in the fight against equine diseases." (More on EIA)
September 17th 2010 ~ DEFRA concluded in 2009 that "introduction of EIA to the UK through legal trade in horses from the EU to the UK would be low likelihood".
See www.defra.gov.uk...eia-eu-update090415.pdf about the Trade Control and Expert System, TRACES, a single database designed "to improve the management of animal movements both from outside the EU and within the EU". We have had two serious incursions of EIA (Equine Infectious Anaemia) this year suggesting that DEFRA's faith in "TRACES" may be misplaced. During the H5N1 scare in 2007, Barry Gardiner MP reported that TRACES (See Hansard) "is not currently functional" - and the EU database was unable to identify the source of the Suffolk H5N1 outbreak at Bernard Matthews' factory-cum-slaughterhouse. On Feb 19th 2007, Juan Lubroth, head of the Infectious Disease group at the UN's FAO, spoke these ominous words on Farming Today :
"I don't have a good idea of what percentage the informal or illegal trade represents to the world trade. I do have access to a lot of statistics through FAO on what a country exports - but I don't know where they export to. I have a lot of information on which countries are importing- but I don't know who they're importing from..."One concerned emailer writes today: "... all borders are porous. It is scary how much potentially contaminated stuff is imported illegally everywhere in the world."
September 17th 2010 ~"all borders are porous"
Following the detection of Equine Infectious Anaemia (EIA) in the imported horse in Northumberland this month, the charity World Horse Welfare is sending out a disease pack offering advice to vets and owners on the prevention and detection of diseases such as EIA. Via the Netherlands this month and via Belgium in January, our recent UK cases were all sourced from heavily infected Romania. (See also ProMed posting)
The charity, World Horse Welfare, has been doing work in Romania since 2004 and is concerned that - although there is a legal requirement for health certification before export from Romania, which includes blood testing for EIA - the EU Commission needs urgently to review the export procedures for horses leaving Romania.
As with the threat of all exotic disease such as foot and mouth and H5N1, one can only repeat the advice given by World Horse Welfare with reference to EIA: the EU should fund and bring its expertise to a successful eradication programme where the disease is endemic (FMD in Turkey is a most urgent case in point) to get rid of the disease once and for all instead of assuming that "monitoring" can keep these diseases out.
Feb 5th 2010 ~ EIA : unsubstantiated reports that horses were taken to sale rings all over the country over Christmas and New Year
Horse and Hound reports that DEFRA has traced one horse from the shipment of Romanian horses that came to the UK via Belgium which was moved from the yard in Wiltshire currently under isolation and the only premises still under movement restrictions. It has tested negative so far. No other equines wereave been taken on or off the Wiltshire premises.
"..Defra said on Wednesday that two horses have been traced in Britain that came into contact with an EIA-positive horse in Belgium. He said they have tested negative, and that further tests are pending - but their whereabouts is not specified."See Horse and Hound report.
Feb 4th 2010 ~ Unclear how many horses have now been tested for Equine Infectious Anaemia (Swamp Fever)
Horse and Hound reports that DEFRA says it has traced all equines that came into contact with the two horses with swamp fever humanely put down in Wiltshire in January (see below) and that while initial tests on contacts have proved negative the horses need more tests at 30 and 60 days.
The DEFRA spokesman "could not confirm this morning whether any more premises in the UK are in isolation - or how many horses have been tested". The ProMed moderator comment in January is here and cases found in Belgium were reported on ProMed yesterday. The farm owner in Wiltshire regularly sources his animals from continental Europe. Horse and Hound says "widespread speculation suggests he is a large-scale dealer and that many hundreds of horses pass through the yard each month."
January 20th 2010 ~ Two imported horses euthanised because of Equine Infectious Anaemia
DEFRA has put down two horses in Wiltshire following the importation from Romania via Belgium of a group of ten horses, two of which have been confirmed with EIA. The premises is currently under restriction and other horses on the premises will now be tested. Chief Veterinary Officer, Nigel Gibbens is quoted:
"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. . .."Equine Infectious Anaemia is a notifiable disease but not a zoonosis. It is spread by biting insects. The view of British Horse Society Head of Welfare:
:".. Defra have acted incredibly quickly and taken every possible precaution to ensure this outbreak is suppressed. EIA is spread by biting insects rather than horse to horse contact, so the recent weather will have improved the chances of containment. Few biting insects will have survived the cold snap meaning that transmission of the disease to other horses is extremely unlikely."(Full posting and reader comment)
Re the two horses in Wiltshire euthanised because post import testing found Equine Infectious AnaemiaEmail received January 20 2010
"How about a PRE-IMPORT testing regime?Another posting on the Horse and Hound forum suggests that a petition be sent to DEFRA that
Some readers might like to comment on this wise letter: http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/5259843/Main/5259768/ [excerpt]
".... EIA is endemic to Rumania and all horses, barring those bound for slaughter in Italy, by law should have a negative Coggins Test before leaving Rumania. "Fat use , ".... success of our post import testing regime"
But speculation among the horse industry is that the yard belongs to a horse dealer. The horses were certified as having entered the UK for "breeding purposes" but that has been found not to be the case.
If you import a horse/s for "breeding purposes"........ guess what, NO "customs duty".
"the recent importation of Infectious Equine Anaemia into this country has shown that the Tripartite Agreement is deeply flawed as it stands. This disease was brought into the country by a dealer who imported Rumanian horses from France. The horses concerned were in the UK for approx 4 weeks before a Coggins Test was undertaken. We were just lucky that it was in the depths of winter when very few or no biting insects were around, this could just have easily happened mid summer and a post import test would have been useless.
EIA is endemic to Rumania and all horses, barring those bound for slaughter in Italy, by law should have a negative Coggins Test before leaving Rumania. Horses intended for immediate slaughter in Italy are somehow ending up in the hands of unscrupulous dealers and entering the UK via France to be sold on for the ridden leisure market and this is how we find ourselves in the position we are in today.
Any horse testing positive for EIA in the UK will be euthanised immediately, the compensation paid to any affected owners is £1, no matter what the real worth of the animal.
Under the TPA's current legislation, no horses imported from France and Ireland to the UK need undertake ANY health checks and it is not only EIA that our herd is at risk from
We the undersigned demand an amendment to the TPA so that only Racing, Breeding or Competition horses are covered. We want to see rigorous health checks undertaken on all other horses imported to the UK no matter where their point of origin is."