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Nearly 250,000 horses could get jab in flu flight

October 30, 2007

Up to 240,000 horses in Australia could be vaccinated by early next year, the National Management Group overseeing the fight to contain equine flu has revealed.

That number represents more than a quarter of all domesticated horses in Australia.

NMG said in a communique that eradication remains the focus of efforts.

"Mindful of the high costs of the equine influenza response on horse owners," the group said, "NMG has moved to ease the burden by broadening the use of vaccination to more aggressively contain and eradicate the disease and free up movement controls in certain zones.

"Further strategic vaccination of horses will be undertaken with up to 240,000 horses expected to be vaccinated by early 2008. An allocation and distribution schedule is being developed based on business cases and ongoing provision and refinement of data from industry.

"Guidelines have been released for this purpose and national horse sectors have been invited to lodge business cases for vaccine allocations."

Proposals, it said, would need to be consistent with nationally agreed objectives for vaccination and include targeted surveillance, identification, tracing, auditing and on-going biosecurity arrangements.

Business cases will need to include evidence about:

The group said it was keeping a constant check on both the direct and indirect costs of containment and eradication efforts, and identified that future priorities to assist the industry included:

NMG comprises the chief executive officers of the departments of agriculture/primary industries across Australia and also the heads of the peak bodies representing the horse industry.

It is chaired by the Secretary of the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Dr Conall O'Connell.



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