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All test results for equine flu in NZ negative

September 4, 2007

Equine flu Q & A

All horses imported from Australia - and horses in contact with those animals - have tested negative for equine influenza, New Zealand biosecurity officials said today.

MAF Biosecurity New Zealand moved to test the 87 horses imported into New Zealand from the beginning of August after the outbreak of flu in New South Wales and Queensland.

Director Post Border, Peter Thomson, said Biosecurity NZ was in the process of contacting owners with the good news.

"There is currently no evidence of equine influenza in New Zealand. All imported horses have been visited by a veterinarian and examined as part of the blood sampling process. No clinical signs of equine influenza have been found and test results have confirmed no disease is present."

MAFBNZ, however, is asking horse owners to remain vigilant for signs of the disease.

Anyone who suspects their horse may be showing symptoms of equine influenza should isolate the horse from other animals and contact their vet immediately or phone the MAFBNZ emergency hotline 0800 80 99 66.

The suspension of horse imports from Australia remains in place until further notice.

MAFBNZ staff will continue increased passenger checks at the border and the cleaning and disinfection of all horse equipment arriving in New Zealand from Australia.

"It is too soon to say when the suspension of horse imports from Australia will be lifted," Mr Thomson said.

"The situation in Australia is still unfolding. We will not be in a position to lift the suspension of horse imports until such a time as the Australian Government can give us an assurance that any movements do not present a biosecurity risk."


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