An outbreak of Equine Viral Arteritis (EVA) has been confirmed in northern France. The highly contagious disease is mainly spread through mares mating with infected stallions. Flu-like symptoms are common, but EVA is also known for causing pregnant mares to abort.

The French outbreak occurred in the Eure and Orne regions of Normandy last week. Movement restrictions have been put in place and horses in the affected area quarantined. In the UK, EVA is a notifiable disease. It is thought that four mares have been infected, but details remain sketchy.

Fritz Sluyter, head of the veterinary department at the International Equestrian Federation, said there was no need for alarm.

“A few premises have been involved after a stallion got sick and then, I believe, died. This is unusual for EVA but not a reason to panic,” he said. “We do get EVA occasionally in Europe and it is just a case of monitoring the situation.”