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Horse Flu Hits 3 Darley Yearlings

Monday, 10th September 2007

Darley confirmed yesterday that 3 yearlings at its Aberdeen base in the NSW Hunter Valley "have been confirmed to have contracted equine influenza". Darley's Australian general manager Oliver Tait said: "Equine influenza is spreading quickly & we were not surprised when a small number of our yearlings began to display clinical signs of the virus. We contacted the Department Of Primary Industries immediately & their tests confirmed it has reached our property." Darley at Aberdeen "has been restricting the movement of people & horses on & off the property since Sunday August 26, in addition to strictly adhering to bio-security protocols" & Tait noted: "It is apparent the virus is airborne, as our NSW property has been in lock-down for 2 weeks. We have continually been seeking advice from leading epidemiologists in the UK & US since the outbreak in Australia & their advice is that vaccination is unequivocally the only way forward. Containment efforts have probably assisted in slowing the spread of the virus, but it is clear they have not stopped it. Surely now we must focus on a vaccination strategy, rather than a restriction of movement in order to stop the spread of equine influenza into other parts of Australia. We have a stud in Victoria & I naturally have concerns it will, in time, also become a victim."

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