Lausanne (SUI), May 12, 2012: La Baule, Equine Influenza (EI) is a virus commonly found throughout the world. Often it exists without causing any symptoms of disease. If ever signs of disease do occur it usually does so within 3 days of contact. The FEI Veterinary Regulations require that all horses are strictly vaccinated.
A horse competing at the Le Touquet event 7 days ago was confirmed to have EI and some of the horses coming from Le Touquet are competing in La Baule. These horses have been stabled separately and the veterinarians have been regularly taking the temperatures of all the horses present in La Baule. This is the standard precautionary measure following concerns of any low risk of equine influenza.
Meanwhile, all horses at La Baule have remained completely healthy and no signs of fever or any symptoms of disease. Some horses that attended the Le Touquet event had a precautionary test for EI undertaken by nasal swabbing. This is called a PCR test (Polymerase Chain Reaction). Tests of this type look for small parts of the genetic material of the EI virus and finding these parts does not signify at all that the virus is active, inactive or capable of causing disease.
It is known as a “super sensitive” test and shows just that viral genetic material is there. Two of the horses that had a PCR test showed evidence of what is called being “PCR positive” but they have shown no symptoms whatsoever of EI. The risk of transmission of this virus from healthy horses is known to be low.
Nevertheless, the Organising Committee together with the FEI have decided to adopt an extra precautionary approach and remove these two horses from the show together with four other horses that were handled by the same grooms. Another group of horses that shared the same stable complex will be moved to an isolation area, but they will still be allowed to compete.
These measures, which have been approved by the Equine Influenza expert of the World Organisation of Animal Health (OIE), have been communicated in detail to the Chefs d’Equipe. All monitoring of horses will continue and we ask your cooperation in reporting to the veterinarians present any concerns that you may have. These veterinarians are available to answer any further questions.
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