February 8, 2008

The equine flu graph has been charting downwards for months.

Now, the number of properties potentially active stands at zero as authorities move to formally resolve any last remaining properties considered infected, or classified as dangerous contact or suspect.

In all, 6664 properties were affected by the disease.

The Department of Primary Industries, in its February 5 situation report, listed one infected property and one still classified as suspect.

The department has yet to update those numbers, but reported yesterday that "any remaining infected, suspect or dangerous contact properties in the purple zone are expected to soon be resolved".

The resolving of all properties is a necessary condition for the purple zone to progress to green by mid-March as expected.

Other conditions which need to be met to allow the rezoning include:

If a further case of infection did occur, the infected property would be quarantined and any susceptible horses in the area would be vaccinated. A thorough tracing investigation would also be conducted to identify the source of infection.

Since the beginning of the EI outbreak more than 11,000 horse movement permits have been issued and NSW DPI laboratories have completed more than 100,000 tests.

Epidemiologists, who study the patterns of diseases in populations, say that the number of recent cases - those less than 21 days old - reached a peak late in September, and started to decline from about the second week of October.

There have been no new infections confirmed by laboratory tests since December 24. That case was believed to be nearly three weeks old when detected.