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It's V for Vaccine day in equine flu fight

September 27, 2007

It may not be V for victory, but there can be no doubting the importance of today's scheduled arrival of vaccine in the fight against equine flu.

The first 20,000 doses of live attenuated vaccine are due in Australia today. New South Wales and Victoria will split 18,500 doses, the remainder going to Victoria to inoculate horses destined to compete in the spring carnival.

More vaccine will arrive next week and it is understood a plan is in place for the vaccination of up to 50,000 horses in the next fortnight.

The vaccine's arrival comes just a day after the first race meeting in New South Wales since the outbreak began a month ago.

The race meeting at Coffs Harbours did not allow spectactors and was be held under strict biosecurity measures. A meeting is scheduled for Ballina on Friday, then Wagga Wagga on Saturday.

NSW Primary Industries Minister Ian Macdonald said the new zoning system in the state will enable some country clubs to apply for permits for meetings in coming weeks.

"One of our aims with the new zoning system is to free up movement in the areas that are free of horse flu, and that includes events such as country race meets."

Mr Macdonald said if there were no problems staging the meetings, hopefully others would follow.

Meanwhile, at Warwick Farm racing precinct, where an outbreak was confirmed six days ago, the disease is reported to be spreading through the equine population. All horses in the 37 stables around Warwick Farm have been tested, with many already showing signs of the disease.

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