January 3, 2008

New South Wales authorities will renew their attack on equine influenza by targeting the purple zone, with only two infected properties a week now being reported in the state.

Acting Primary Industries Minister Linda Burney said the first stage in the new process would see all horse owners in the zone (which covers 3% of the state) complete a Travelling Horse Statement (THS) before moving horses.

"It is now time to concentrate efforts on cleaning up the disease in the EI purple zone around Sydney, the Hunter Valley and Tamworth," she said.

"Our fight against this disease is moving into the purple zone with the ultimate view of stamping the disease out in this area once and for all.

"NSW DPI is recording only two new infected properties per week and it has been several weeks since a new property was detected in the Hunter Valley. In NSW there are 1194 EI infected properties while about 5500 have been cleared of infection.

"Veterinary teams will continue surveillance testing and investigations throughout the area to identify remaining infected properties and identify parts of the zone that are free from the disease.

"Knowing where the disease is in the purple zone means we can stop its spread through tighter movement requirements from January 14 and strategic use of vaccine.

NSW deputy chief veterinary officer Ian Roth today said about 84% of NSW is now part of the EI green zone, which is considered free of the contagious disease.

"Our goal remains complete eradication and ensuring all of the state gets back to being EI free so that our horse industries can enjoy a bright future," he said.

Nationally-agreed-to requirements for horse owners in the purple zone from 14 January are: