State vets honoured for equine flu efforts

July 26, 2009

The state veterinarians of New South Wales and Queensland have been presented with the most prestigious award in the equine industry at a gala dinner in Coolum, Queensland.

Dr Bruce Christie, a veterinary officer with the NSW Department of Primary Industries for 22 years - the last seven as the state's chief vet - was honoured along with Queensland's top vet, Dr Ron Glanville, for their efforts during the 2007 equine influenza outbreak.

The pair were presented with the 2009 Equine Veterinarians Australia Award for services to the horse industry.

"I'm delighted to receive such an esteemed award, from my peers in the industry," Dr Christie said.

"This award is recognition of the hard work of the thousands of people who spent six months controlling the rapid spread of the disease, and the ongoing effects to the horse industry."

Equine Veterinarians Australia President Dr Jane Axon said the award is given to a person who has made a significant contribution to the equine industry.

"One of the features of the Equine Veterinarians Australia conference is to honour those who have provided exceptional service to the horse industry," Dr Axon said.

"This year we are recognising Dr Christie, along with his Queensland counterpart Dr Ron Glanville, for their outstanding efforts during the equine influenza outbreak in New South Wales and Queensland in 2007.

"It was through the work of Dr Christie, Dr Glanville and a host of others that equine influenza was successfully eradicated in Australia."

"The first outbreak of equine influenza in New South Wales was confirmed on August 25, 2007 and at the height of the outbreak there were more than 5800 infected properties and more than 200 new infected properties detected per day," Dr Christie said.

"New South Wales conducted a massive campaign on a scale never before seen in Australia, using the latest vaccine and laboratory testing technologies.

"The New South Wales Government spent more than $A50 million on its control and eradication campaign.

"More than 20 control and vaccination centres across New South Wales were established, while an EI workforce of about 2000 was enlisted.

"It was a remarkable effort to turn this disease around in such a short amount of time."

New South Wales was declared EI free in February 2008.

Equine Veterinarians Australia is a professional body representing more than 1000 equine veterinarians throughout Australia.