CASE STUDY: THE AUS­TRALIAN OUT­BREAK

EQUUS - - Eiv Equine Influenza Virus -

to use tem­po­rary fenc­ing to cor­don off a smaller area for one horse. Dur­ing this time, check the tem­per­a­ture of the new horse twice daily as you mon­i­tor him for cough­ing or other early signs of ill­ness.

• Keep sep­a­rate equip­ment for each horse in your care. Don’t share wa­ter buck­ets or other tools among horses. “The virus is spread most read­ily with nose-to-nose con­tact but can also be trans­mit­ted on ob­jects,” says Wil­son.

• Prac­tice good hy­giene. Wash your hands with soap af­ter han­dling and groom­ing each horse in your care. Con­sider mount­ing dis­pensers of hand san­i­tiz­ers at con­ve­nient lo­ca­tions in your barn. “The thing to re­mem­ber about viruses, es­pe­cially in­fluenza, is that it trans­mits very eas­ily from horse to horse and it does not have to be di­rect •

The equine in­fluenza out­break that struck Aus­tralia in 2007 pro­vided a vivid il­lus­tra­tion of how the virus can rav­age an equine pop­u­la­tion lack­ing nat­u­ral im­mu­nity or the pro­tec­tion of a vac­cine.

Prior to the out­break, Aus­tralia, New Zealand and Ice­land were the only three na­tions where equine in­fluenza did not ex­ist. Then, in Au­gust 2007, re­cently im­ported horses at a quar­an­tine cen­ter near Syd­ney fell ill and were de­ter­mined to be in­fected with a strain of EIV that had caused an out­break in Ja­pan.

Nor­mally the virus would have been con­fined to the quar­an­tine cen­ter, but on Au­gust 22, two horses from an equestrian cen­ter in Syd­ney de­vel­oped in­fluenza, and other cases soon ap­peared at other sta­bles in eastern Aus­tralia—all of the af­fected lo­cal horses had at­tended a one-day event on Au­gust 17. Al­though how the virus es­caped from the quar­an­tine fa­cil­ity is still a mat­ter of con­tro­versy, it is gen­er­ally be­lieved that it hap­pened when some­one failed to fol­low

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