DEFRA has reported a case of equine infectious anaemia in the UK. The disease has been slowly making its way across Europe, with cases already seen this year in Germany, Belgium, and most recently, France.
DEFRA has reported a case of equine infectious anaemia (EIA) in the UK.
The disease, which was previously not seen in this country, has been slowly making its way across Europe, with cases already seen this year in Germany, Belgium, and most recently, France. The disease has also now been discovered in the south of the UK, in Cornwall.
According to DEFRA, only one horse has been found to be suffering from the disease – symptoms of which include recurring fever, anaemia, oedema and emaciation, as well as eventual death.
The horse is to be destroyed this afternoon (Wednesday, October 3, 2012), and restrictions have been put in place to stop the disease from spreading.
Nigel Gibbens, DEFRA’s chief veterinary officer, said of the discovery: “We have confirmed that one horse is infected with EIA.
“All the necessary precautions to prevent disease spread, including movement restrictions on the sick horse and others at the same stables, were put in place as soon as we became aware of the animal’s illness. We have also begun a thorough investigation to ascertain whether any other horses may have been exposed to infection.
“Equine infectious anaemia is a serious disease but it can be contained by finding infected horses and removing them so that they do not infect others.
“This country has a robust record of disease prevention and management. All reports of suspected notifiable disease are taken exceptionally seriously and are investigated immediately.”
EIA is endemic in the Americas, South Africa, Russia and the Far East. Transmission is primarily through biting flies (tabanid species) or stable flies (Stomoxys calcitrans). However, nasal secretions, saliva, semen, ova and embryos can also spread the virus.
Pregnant mares may also pass the disease on to foals.
It is not yet known how the virus has appeared in the UK, but DEFRA told Vetsonline that investigations were being carried out.
EIA is a notifiable disease. If you or a client suspects the disease, you must immediately notify the AHVLA.
- Visit DEFRA’s website for more information on EIA.