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Flu: experts urge continued vigilance as more cases confirmed

Edited 29 May to include latest figures

Experts are urging owners to continue to be vigilant over equine flu as 32 cases have been confirmed in less than two months.

The latest update from the Animal Health Trust shows 20 outbreaks in May, including nine in a week. This follows 12 cases confirmed in April.

Of the outbreaks reported at the beginning of May, eight involved horses who had recently been imported from Ireland, and one a horse who had recently arrived from Europe.

Two of the affected horses were vaccinated against flu, the vaccination status of two more is not known and the rest had not been vaccinated.

In a statement, the British Equestrian Federation (BEF) said it “continues to closely monitor the equine flu outbreak”, noting the latest figures from the Animal Health Trust.

“This outbreak is no longer making headlines but the BEF urges owners to maintain their vigilance and ensure their vaccination records are up to date,” the statement said.

“We strongly recommend that if it has been longer than six months since the last vaccination, owners should discuss a booster with their veterinary surgeon.

“It is also vital that unvaccinated horses do not mix with other equines due to the increased risk of such an infectious disease spreading.

“Our recommendations are based on advice from experts in equine flu and epidemiology with experience in managing previous outbreaks.”

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Equine flu

Equine influenza is a very effective virus that spreads rapidly between horses that don’t have antibodies to protect them so


The BEF also “continues to strongly recommend” that all competition and event organisers check the passports of all horses to ensure they comply with vaccination rules.

The May outbreaks, in Yorkshire, Cheshire, Manchester, Shropshire, Northamptonshire, Essex, Northumberland, Norfolk, Gloucestershire and central Scotland, take the number confirmed this year so far to 93 in total.

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