Latest equine flu update: number of confirmed outbreaks on the rise

Equine flu remains an ongoing concern as the confirmed number of outbreaks is on the rise.

The latest update from the Animal Health Trust shows 22 outbreaks this month, up to and including 18 June; one in Scotland, nine in Wales, and 12 in England. The outbreaks relate to unvaccinated horses except one thoroughbred in Essex, diagnosed on 2 June, who was “presumed” vaccinated. This follows 20 outbreaks in May, and 12 in April.

Of the outbreaks in June, one horse had recently arrived from the Netherlands. The remainder do not relate to imported horses.

On 11 June a diagnosis was confirmed in two non-thoroughbreds at an event in Cumbria with reports of “several other” horses affected at the event. A non-thoroughbred in Manchester and one in Sussex were diagnosed on 17 June having recently returned from an event in Cumbria.

Five horses who had recently arrived from a sale were diagnosed in Carmarthenshire on 14 June, while horses were diagnosed at five separate premises across Swansea.

The British Equestrian Federation’s most recent advice urges owners to continue to maintain vigilance and ensure vaccination records are up to date.

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“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,” the statement said.

“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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