In an era when mis­in­for­ma­tion spreads rapidly, the

EQUUS - - Eq Conversati­ons - By Chris­tine Barakat

Dur­ing an equine disease out­break, you want cur­rent and ac­cu­rate in­for­ma­tion about how to keep your horse safe. Get­ting that in the In­ter­net age, how­ever, can be tricky. Out­dated and in­ac­cu­rate in­for­ma­tion can spread with ev­ery well-in­ten­tioned click of a “share” but­ton, and the true na­ture of an out­break and its af­ter­math can be dif­fi­cult to dis­cern. The Equine Disease Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Cen­ter (EDCC) is hop­ing to change that.

A clear­ing­house for in­for­ma­tion on in­fec­tious equine disease out­breaks, the EDCC seeks to pro­vide some­thing that can be in short sup­ply dur­ing a vet­eri­nary cri­sis: timely, re­li­able in­for­ma­tion. The EDCC web­site, www. equinedis­, pro­vides up­dates on cases of her­pesvirus, stran­gles and other in­fec­tious diseases based on in­for­ma­tion from lo­cal ve­teri­nar­i­ans and state an­i­mal health of­fi­cials.

Pro­vided by the U.S. Equestrian Fed­er­a­tion, the web­site has been ac­tive since the spring of 2014. But only re­cently has the EDCC made a con­certed ef­fort to reach horse own­ers through so­cial me­dia. The or­ga­ni­za­tion plans to take the out­reach even fur­ther, in­clud­ing es­tab­lish­ing a call cen­ter that would al­low own­ers to call in with in­for­ma­tion or ques­tions about disease oc­cur­rences.

“Our goal is to bring out­break in­for­ma­tion di­rectly to horse own­ers as soon as it can be ver­i­fied and to make it ex­tremely easy for own­ers to find in­for­ma­tion that helps them pro­tect their horses when they need it,” says Bai­ley McCal­lum, com­mu­ni­ca­tion man­ager for the EDCC, which op­er­ates out of the Amer­i­can As­so­ci­a­tion of Equine Prac­ti­tion­ers (AAEP) office in Lex­ing­ton, Ken­tucky.

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