April 8, 2008

Australia has formally advised the International Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) that it is free of equine influenza.

Follow-up report number 7 has been filed with the OIE declaring freedom, saying: "No evidence that equine influenza virus is still circulating in the horse population has been found."

The report from office of Australia's chief veterinary officer, Dr Andy Carroll, said: "The last case of equine influenza occurred in Queensland on 25 December 2007 and in New South Wales on 9 December 2007.

"Surveillance has involved extensive testing of more than 34,000 horses under targeted and random sampling programmes.

The report said some measures in previously infected areas will remain in place until June 30, including travelling horse statements, event registration and biosecurity measures at horse events, as well as surveillance and investigation of any suspect cases.

The report said 50,000 horses and others equines had been vaccinated in New South Wales, 20,000 in Queensland, 10,000 in Victoria and 2500 in South Australia.