African horse sickness movement controls lifted

Movement restriction that were imposed in the African horse sickness (AHS) surveillance zone to contain the recent outbreak of AHS in the Boland region has been lifted, according to a statement issued by the Western Cape MEC for Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde.

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Farmer’s Weekly reported earlier this year that an outbreak of AHS occurred in April, resulting four deaths and a total of 21 confirmed AHS cases.

Camilla Mehtar-Weyer, state veterinarian in the Boland region, said vets were confident the AHS outbreak was over.

“We are confident that this cold weather would have stopped any risk of further transmission,” she said.

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As a result of the outbreak earlier this year SA breeders will not be eligible to export horses to the EU from the AHS free zone for another 24 months.

“The reality is it will most likely not happen prior to an audit by the EU of our equine export systems and disease control strategies,” said Mehtar-Weyer.

“The audit that the EU conducted in 2013 highlighted many issues that need to be addressed in our current protocols. We are further working on a lock down quarantine protocol, where horses would enter a facility that is completely vector-proof for a period of time prior to export.”

“Vaccination within the surveillance zone as well as the AHS free zone is only allowed from 13 June until 31 October 2016 and also only with permission from a state veterinarian,” according to the statement.

The provincial agricultural department decided to restrict the period of use of the vaccine to the time of year when the vector (the midge) is thought to be least active (winter months), said Mehtar-Weyer. In the rest of the country the vaccine should to be administered as normal, she advised.