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Equine Flu update from Dr Ron Glanville (DPI&F)

October 18, 2007

by Dr Ron Glanville,
Chief Veterinary Officer
Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries

Vaccination, buffer zone and strategy
Vaccination of horses in the equine influenza vaccination buffer zone and of performance horses commenced in Queensland on 28 September.

About 22,000 vials of vaccine have been dispensed to veterinarians over the last 18 days. It is estimated that there are about 10,000 horses in the buffer zone.

Sixty private and government veterinarians have been allocated 6000 doses of vaccine for the buffer, most of which has already been administered.

All horses that have been vaccinated have also been micro-chipped.

EI has been contained to the SE to date, but moving forward the DPI&F is fine tuning the strategy in two main ways;

(1) more aggressively protecting areas that don't have infection within the RED ZONE through use of strategic vaccination and

(2) looking for ways to free up movements while minimising the risk of further spreading disease so that the impacts on industry are reduced.

However people must realise that the latter will always be a trade-off between disease control and letting people move.

A draft EI containment and eradication framework for the longer-term has been distributed to industry representatives for comment.

On-line videos of equine influenza information meetings
Recent equine influenza meetings held in southeast Queensland have been video taped in order to make the information more widely available.

Horse owners can review some of the information provided by DPI&F at these meetings on the disease, containment and the eradication strategies.

Pleasure and perormance horse industry
Minister for Primary Industries and Fisheries Tim Mulherin has announced the formation of a working party representing the Performance and Pleasure Horse Industries.

With so many individual associations and federations representing each riding discipline, it is important for DPI&F to be able to engage with these groups so they can provide feedback on eradication and recovery strategies for equine influenza.

This is a critical time of the EI response and all of these groups need to make a concerted effort to ensure that information about biosecurity and assistance programs is delivered to all horse owners and businesses that rely on horses such as horse exporters, livestock transporters and saddle retailers.

Horse industry liasion officers
Under AUSVETPLAN Industry Liaison Officers have an important role to play in helping DPI&F in the development of polices and the communication of information back to horse owners.

Joining DPI&F's equine influenza response team are Ms Nicole Magoffin (Olympic trials Grand Prix Dressage competitor - Gold Coast), Mr David Finch (Show jumping - Darling Downs), Mrs Karen Herald, (Dressage organiser Caboolture), and Ms Jane Myers, (Show jumping Tamborine). They join existing ILO's Robert Cassidy (Queensland Racing) and Andrew Kelly (Queensland Harness Racing).

Ms Carmel Barnfield has also joined the EI response team as communications officer at the Tamborine DPI&F Community Resource Centre. They join a team of dedicated staff and volunteers all doing a great job to help answer the questions of horse owners in the RED ZONE.

Horse registration
All horse owners or operators of horse businesses are reminded that they must register their 'place' or location of their horse.



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