Authorities in South Africa have so far tested 200 horses for African Horse Sickness (AHS) since a case of the dangerous disease was reported within the Western Cape’s surveillance zone.
The case was detected earlier this month by a private vet in Paarl through clinical surveillance. The disease, which is normally fatal for horses, is carried and spread by biting midges.
The horse was on a property within the AHS surveillance zone, part of the biosecurity buffer for the AHS free zone from which horses can be exported.
Authorities confirmed on Tuesday that no new cases of AHS had been detected, prompting a review of the containment zone introduced to minimise the risk of the disease spreading.
Minister of Economic Opportunities Alan Winde said: “Movement restrictions are still in force within a smaller containment area surrounding the farm where the case was detected.
“No movement of horses into, out of, through or within the containment area will be allowed without a movement permit from a state veterinarian.”
Winde said the vets launched a surveillance programme immediately after the case was reported.
“An initial census and surveillance programme by state vets in the area surrounding the affected property was performed to determine the extent of the outbreak,” he said.
“All properties on which horses are kept within 5km of the index farm were visited and approximately 200 horses sampled. About 90 percent of results have been received to date, all of which have been negative for AHS virus.”
Winde said surveillance activities within the containment area were continuing.
“Part of this includes investigating the source of the infection, which has not yet been established.”
Private veterinarians in the affected area have also been asked to tell state vets of any suspected AHS cases or cases indicative of infectious disease both within the containment area and within the AHS surveillance zone.
Any owner within the AHS surveillance zone detecting illness in horses involving unexplained fever, swelling of the head and neck and difficulty breathing should report the case to their local state vet as quickly as possible. Contact details of regional state veterinary offices can be found on www.elsenburg.com.
The revised containment zone is as follows:
The eastern border of the containment area follows the border of the AHS surveillance zone from the Jonkershoek area along the Limietberg mountain range to the Voëlvlei dam. The boundary then extends westwards past the southern end of the Voëlvlei dam to the R46, which it follows through Hermon, Riebeeck Kasteel and to Malmesbury.
The western border of the containment area follows the R302 southwards until it intersects with the R304, which it follows into Stellenbosch and along Bird St until the intersection with Merriman Ave. The southern border follows Merriman Ave, Martinson Rd and Jonkershoek Rd to the east, through the Jonkershoek Valley and up the escarpment until it meets with the border of the AHS surveillance zone. The roads that make up the borders of the containment area are not included in the movement restrictions, and transport of horses along these roads is permitted.
No movement of equines into, out of, through or within the containment zone will be allowed without a movement permit from a state veterinarian, which will be issued under special circumstances only. The roads that make up the borders of the containment zone are not included in the movement restrictions, and transport of horses along these roads is permitted. Permit applications should be made to authorised veterinarian Dr Camilla Weyer at email@example.com.