Deadly African Horse Sickness has been detected in Thailand, killing at least 42 racehorses in the northeast of the country.
The disease is endemic in sub-Saharan Africa and is spread by biting midges.
Horses are considered the most susceptible, with nearly 90% dying if infected. It kills roughly half of infected mules and 10% of donkeys.
Infected African donkeys and mules rarely show signs of disease.
The Thailand outbreak is understood to be the first time the disease has been confirmed in the country.
It is centered in the Pak Chong area, according to the Thailand Equestrian Federation’s veterinary adviser, Dr Metha Chanda.
Chanda told the International Equestrian Federation’s veterinary director, Dr Göran Akerström, in a letter on Saturday that the emergence of the disease had been confirmed by the country’s Department of Livestock Development (DLD).
Authorities have suspended the movement of all horses and equine species within a 150km radius of the outbreak.
People are required to report any sudden death or suspected cases to the DLD.
“Restricted movement and good hygiene must be followed among the horses located outside of the outbreak zone,” Chanda says.
Checkpoints will be watching for any illegal movements of equines.
“Further measures may be launched to minimize and control the outbreak of the disease,” he says.
Chanda says 42 horses have been reported dead so far out of 62 cases. He says 341 horses in the outbreak area are susceptible to the disease.
He says the reaction of the Thailand Equestrian Federation has been swift, with members told to restrict horse movements and to follow relevant measures advised by the DLD.
“Our deepest sympathy goes out to those who have lost horses due to this terrible virus. We are monitoring the situation closely and will continue to update everyone and follow all protocols in order to best protect all horses in Thailand,” he says.
It is understood the deaths have occurred across several barns in the outbreak area.