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Less Than 5% Of NSW Horses Have Equine Flu

Friday, 14th September 2007

NSW Department Of Primary Industries deputy chief veterinary officer Ian Roth emphasised "properties with horses infected with equine influenza cover only a fraction of the land area of NSW". Roth noted: "Less than 5% of almost 170,000 horses in NSW have so far tested positive for the disease. And a clear majority of the horse population is located in areas not currently affected by the equine influenza outbreak. Although the number of infected properties continues to steadily rise, new infections have shown up in places that were expected, either though our tracing or lateral spread to nearby properties. Most new infections are occurring on small properties with relatively few horses & most of these are confined to a few districts with high horse populations. The large restricted areas around infected properties may be giving the impression that the disease is more widespread than it actually is." Roth also said the fact horse flu was not emerging in new areas of NSW was "a sign the strategies of movement restrictions & tracing were effective. We have been able to limit the spread & this gives us confidence that our movement standstill strategy of confining horse flu to relatively few animals in a defined band of NSW is working, even though infection numbers continue to rise. Unfortunately the short-term consequences of keeping the disease contained are that indefinite movement restrictions must continue & all properties in restricted areas must to continue to enforce strict quarantine procedures."

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