CASE STUDY: THE AUSTRALIAN OUTBREAK
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