BD member update: EHV-1
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Many of you will have seen reports on the current major outbreak of a very aggressive strain of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1 – neurological form) which is active in Europe. The origin of the outbreak has been traced to a jumping show in Valencia and horses have travelled onwards from the venue and inadvertently spread the virus across Europe and beyond. There are currently no related cases reported in the UK and we must all act responsively to ensure this remains the case.
The FEI has suspended its European calendar in all disciplines until 28 March 2021 in a bid to contain the outbreak. They have also created an FEI EHV-1 hub with up to date information and details of their updates.
It’s imperative we do everything possible to mitigate the risk of this strain coming to the UK and British Equestrian and British Showjumping have been working with the FEI on managing the British riders effected, who have been contacted directly with guidance and support.
BD, and all the BEF member bodies, are working with the leading UK specialist in equine disease, the BEF Veterinary Advisory Group, the Equine Infections Diseases Advisory Group and the British Equine Veterinary Association to ensure that appropriate measures and guidance have issued to all vets and participants in all areas of equine activity in UK. The BEF is also in communication via our veterinary advisors with the horseracing and breeding industries, who are liaising directly with their participants to give industry-wide co-ordination.
British Equestrian protocols, which are being adopted by each discipline, are now in place for any riders returning to the UK from Europe, including foreign riders based here, in a bid to prevent any spread of the virus. We have provided any riders we are aware of who have been in Europe recently with a copy of the protocols. Anyone who is bringing horses from Europe at this time (purchase, training, stud work, etc) should follow the protocols and strict biosecurity measures to safeguard our equine population.
EHV-1 is an airborne disease that can be transmitted up to five metres via coughing, but also through direct contact, via people and shared equipment. It can cause respiratory and neurological signs, abortion in pregnant mares and death of young foals.
EHV is found routinely in the UK and is a non-notifiable disease but it is not to be taken lightly. The risk to the general horse population here is no higher than usual as any British horses who were on the show ground in Valencia are being managed in Europe and will not travel home until they are passed fit by a veterinarian.
In the interests of equine welfare, and to protect your horses and those of others, there are biosecurity measures you should implement for your horses as regular practice but particularly any yards who have travelled horses to/from Europe recently. These measures are to prevent the virus being transmitted at future events you attend. Please see the information sheets below for further guidance.