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People 'greatest risk' in battle against horse flu

November 24, 2007

People failing to follow the proper biosecurity measures presented the greatest risk of spreading equine influenza, Biosecurity Queensland's chief ceterinary officer, Dr Ron Glanville, said yesterday.

Dr Glanville warned that the good work towards containing and eradicating EI could be jeopardised by people spreading the disease through failing to comply with the simple guidelines, which have been widely promoted.

The guidelines include that persons who have contact with infected horses should avoid contact with other horses for a minimum of 24 hours. During this time they must shower using soap and shampoo, change into clean, laundered clothes, ensure the soles of their work footwear are clean and decontaminated, and launder the clothes worn when in contact with the horses.

It is also important, with school holidays approaching, that teachers and parents make sure children know that they can also play an important role in helping prevent the spread of flu.

Dr Glanville said vaccinations were proceeding this week with a strong focus on the performance and pleasure horse sector.

He said the main purpose of vaccination was to reduce the number of horses that become infected, thereby reducing the amount of virus shed, and the chance of further spread of disease.

"Over the past month, the rate of infection has slowed significantly, which confirms the success of our vaccination strategy and tight movement controls," he said.

"If they have not done so already, all horse owners in the performance and pleasure sector should complete a vaccination application form and send it to their nearest participating EI vaccination accredited private veterinarian."



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