No new cases of African horse sickness have been identified in Malaysia since the nation’s confirmation of its first outbreak of the deadly disease, according to its first follow-up report to the World Organisation of Animal Health (OIE).
Five animals on one property were confirmed with the disease in the country’s initial report of the outbreak to the OIE, dated September 2.
Its September 9 follow-up communication confirms that all five horses affected by the disease, which is carried by biting midges, have been euthanized.
Efforts to determine the source of the infection are on-going.
Surveillance inside and outside the containment zone set up to stop the spread of the disease has been stepped up, according to Malaysian authorities.
Other measures employed so far include movement control within the country, screening, tracing measures, quarantines, and efforts to target the midges responsible for the spread of the disease.
Vaccination against the virus is not permitted in Malaysia.
The Malaysian cases follow the first-ever outbreak of the disease in nearby Thailand, first reported in February, which reports have linked to the importation of zebras from Africa.
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.
The start of Malaysia’s outbreak is officially put at August 6. Confirmation that the disease was African horse sickness came three weeks later, on August 27.
The serotype involved — there are nine different forms of African horse sickness — has yet to be confirmed. It will provide clues as to whether there are any links with Thailand’s outbreak, which involves only serotype 1.
The five affected horses identified with the disease were in the state of Terengganu.
Malaysia shares a border with southern Thailand, and Terengganu is some 200km from that border. However, the centre of the Thailand outbreak is further afield, at least 1000km away.
Thailand, which has used vaccination as a key strategy to contain the disease, has not had a confirmed case since mid-June.
» Earlier report: African horse sickness confirmed in Malaysia