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Equine herpes: calls for vigilance after neurological cases confirmed in multiple countries

Riders are urged to be vigilant for the signs of equine herpes virus (EHV) after cases of the neurological form of the virus have been confirmed in multiple countries.

Four horses died as a result of the outbreak of neurological EHV-1 at Crofton Manor, Hampshire, last month. But in total, more than 70 cases of this form of the virus have been reported since 1 January last year, in Belgium, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, Norway and the Czech Republic, as well as in Canada and the US.

The neurological form of the disease is considered by the FEI to be “a significant threat to equine health and equine events”.

The FEI has traced those responsible for horses who may have been in close contact with confirmed cases at shows last year to ask them to implement biosecurity measures and monitor the situation.

“Please alert athletes and their support teams to the risks associated with this virus and encourage them to be vigilant,” an FEI statement issued today (10 February) reads.

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“Changes have been made to the 2020 FEI veterinary regulations so horses that show clinical signs or have been in contact with affected horses will not be allowed to access FEI events. They may not be entered in future FEI events until they have fulfilled health requirements as determined by the FEI veterinary department.

“In the event of a horse developing clinical signs of the virus, the horse must be placed in isolation, strict biosecurity measures implemented and samples taken for diagnostic testing. In-contact horses must be identified, placed under strict biosecurity measures and carefully monitored.”

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