State Vet cautions against social media rumours on AHS

Buffalo City’s state veterinarian, Dr Stuart Varrie, appealed to horse owners in the Kei Mouth and Morgan Bay areas of the Eastern Cape not to report cases of African horse sickness (AHS) on social media websites, unless the disease had been confirmed through laboratory testing.

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“There is irresponsible posting going on, creating unnecessary panic and stress across the country,” he said.  “Don’t assume that because your horse is sick it has AHS. Wait until the results are confirmed because there are other things that could be the problem.” At a community meeting at the beginning of January, Varrie said that by the end of December 2012, only four cases of AHS had been confirmed in the Kei Mouth and Morgan Bay areas.

Local horse owners discussed with Varrie ways of mitigating the impact of the recent outbreak. “There are two approaches to dealing with this outbreak of AHS,” he said. “Do not move your horses out of the area, and blanket vaccinate.“The appeal is to each of you as responsible horse owners not to even think about moving a horse at the moment.”  Varrie advised that all horses, including those already vaccinated, be vaccinated again as part of the blanket vaccination strategy.