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Federal aid package extended in equine flu battle

October 22, 2007

Australian federal authorities have announced a $A117 million boost to assistance-funding for horse owners affected by the equine flu outbreak, extending the existing programme a further 12 weeks.

The original $A110 million programme was to have ended on November 17, but will now continue into February as efforts to contain the virus in New South Wales and Queensland continue.

The news came as tracing and testing for equine influenza in the Barmedman and Temora areas of NSW unearthed two infected properties, both at Temora.

NSW Chief Veterinary Officer Bruce Christie said early action to declare a red restricted area around Temora has paid off following the detection of EI in two horses on one property at Temora and five horses on another. None are currently infectious.

"NSW DPI tracing from the infected area at Barmedman and widespread testing of horses has confirmed the two infected properties at Temora and three new infected properties at Barmedman," Mr Christie said.

"More than 200 horses around Temora have been tested in recent days and only two properties have come back positive.

"The strategic testing of more than 200 horses in the area gives NSW DPI epidemiologists reason to believe the disease is not widespread."

There are now four infected properties at Barmedman, one at Gidginbung and two at Temora.

The additional infected properties at Barmedman are all within close proximity of the original outbreak there, meaning there is no change to zoning in the area.

Mr Christie said a red zone had been established around Temora, Gidginbung and Barmedman a week ago and the Cootamundra and Junee local government areas had been changed from the green zone into the amber zone at that time also.

"There will be no change to the zoning around Barmedman, Gidginbung and Temora as a result of these latest properties becoming infected."

Mr Christie said NSW Department of Primary Industries acted swiftly after reports last week that horses at Barmedman were showing signs of influenza.

"The expanded amber zone remains in place to create a control area between the red zone and the green zone at Wagga Wagga.

"NSW DPI tracing and surveillance teams continue their work to identify how the disease found its way to the Temora property and any possible spread from the infected properties," Mr Christie said.

"Vaccination is already under way around the Temora area with more than 500 horses vaccinated.

"The buffer zone aims to create a wall of immunity and trap the disease from infecting new areas."

A forward command post and vaccination centre has been established at Temora.



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