First swamp fever case since 1976 hits the UK
THE British Horseracing Authority has urged caution among breeders following the discovery that two non thoroughbreds in Wiltshire have been diagnosed with Equine Infectious Anaemia, also known as ‘swamp fever'.
In the first confirmed outbreak of EIA since 1976, the two horses were imported from Romania via Belgium.
Tim Morris, Director of Equine Science and Welfare for the BHA, said: "Defra have involved the BHA in their planning and assessment. The horses are not competition or racehorses, or breeding animals. Disease containment controls are on premises not areas, and at a present Defra do not think racing will be affected, or that the risk of spread is high - it is spread by biting flies and such spread is unlikely at this time of year and with the current weather.
"Nevertheless, racing should not be complacent. The BHA does consider that, as horses with the disease are persistently infected, that the humane destruction of the horses that have been affected is necessary. It has advised all its veterinary officers and relevant racingstakeholders to be aware of the signs of this disease. This emphasises the need for continued vigilance for all horse diseases in the UK."
EIA is particularly prevalent in ‘swampy' conditions. Symptoms include haemorrhaging, oedema and jaundice in the acute stages and enlargement of the liver, spleen and lymph nodes in the chronic stage. These signs may show a few days after infections, but may not be apparent for months. The usual incubation period is between one to three weeks.