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Thousand flu tests a day as eradication 'on track'

November 20, 2007

New South Wales authorities are testing up to 1000 samples a day as efforts to rid Australia of equine flu continue apace.

"Despite a couple of new spots in the Grenfell area, the progress towards eradication is on track," the Department of Primary Industries said in its daily update.

"Areas previously red are converting to amber and some more amber zones are turning green. The laboratory continues to test up to 1000 samples per day and there are about 10 properties coming up as positive daily. Nearly all these are inside vaccination buffers.

Testing in the north-east of the state is continuing to see if the area is free of the disease.

"Several areas [are] approaching adequate testing levels to progress with rezoning from amber to green within the next few days.

"Clearance testing for Temora, Mudgee, Barmedman and Cooyal red zones is well advanced with those areas looking to be downgraded to amber in the very near future."

However, the buffer area surrounding infected properties in the Forbes and Temora districts has been extended to enable more vaccination and prevent further spread.

Chief veterinary officer Bruce Christie said the extension had enabled the creation of one large buffer region, within which strategic vaccination efforts would continue this week.

"This extended buffer will enable us to vaccinate more horses in the vicinity of an infected property and further reduce any additional spread of the disease in this part of the state," he said.

"The extended area now includes the town of Harden along with some smaller villages, and enables vaccination to take place in support of the other control efforts.

"We urge people whose horses may be in this buffer to contact either the Forbes or the Temora vaccination centres and register their horses.

"Registered horses within some parts of this larger buffer zone will be vaccinated at no cost to their owners.

"We understand there are a large number of standardbred horses in the southern part of this region, and urge owners to register these animals so we can help protect them.

"We also remind people of the ongoing importance of good biosecurity to help us in controlling the EI outbreak. Simple things such as practising good biosecurity when handling horses, and adhering to movement restrictions, will make a huge contribution to us eradicating EI."

"Vaccination of uninfected horses in the buffer is a vitally important part of the strategy to contain the spread of the extremely contagious EI virus," Mr Christie said.

More than 20,000 horses have been vaccinated throughout NSW's buffer zones since the inoculation programme began. More than 10,000 racehorses have also received vaccine in the state.

 

 

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