February 14, 2008

Intense monitoring programmes in Queensland and New South Wales are continuing to confirm the belief that equine influenza has been beaten.

"All current evidence is that equine influenza has been eradicated from Queensland," said Queensland EI project leader Rick Webster.

The last known case in the state occurred on Christmas Day, but was not reported until January 11.

Intensive surveillance of properties around the area of the last known cases - Cedargrove, Jimboomba and Morayfield - has yet to uncover and evidence of infection.

Like New South Wales, there are now no infected properties in the state.

Six reports of respiratory infections were checked in the last week, but none was caused by equine flu.

While there are now no infected premises, several still have "dangerous contact" or "suspect" status. All testing to date on those properties has found no evidence of infection.

In NSW, the last positive laboratory test was on December 22.

"The next six weeks will be critical in controlling the disease and meeting the requirements for a declaration of freedom," a Department of Primary Industries spokesman said.

"It is now more important than ever to maintain biosecurity, abide by horse movement requirements, and continue to monitor all horses and report any signs of EI to the EI hotline immediately. Reporting is vital.

"A new case of infection is now unlikely, but if there was one, and it was found to have been unreported for some time, this could potentially be a major setback for the control operation.

"However, a new infection, quickly reported, would be swiftly isolated and dealt with and would not substantially delay the progress of other areas."