A Defra investigation has traced only one horse that it says is at risk of developing swamp fever in Britain following the cases discovered in Wiltshire last month.

One animal from the shipment of Romanian horses that came to the UK via Belgium was moved from the yard in Wiltshire currently under isolation.

A Defra spokesman confirmed: “One horse from the original consignment had been sold, so it was traced and tested and the test was negative.”

Furthermore the spokesman said that during 22 December, when the horses arrived, and 11 January, when they were tested, no other equines were taken on or off the Wiltshire premises.

The owner of the yard has not yet been officially named, but widespread speculation suggests he is a large-scale dealer and H&H has received unsubstantiated reports that horses were taken to sale rings around the country over the Christmas and New Year period.

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.

The Defra spokesman told H&H yesterday that the yard in Wiltshire “is the only premises still under movement restrictions.”