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Horse flu eradication on track

December 12, 2007

Cooperation between the sectors involved in Queensland's equine influenza response has paid dividends, with the spread of the virus quickly trending down.

Biosecurity Queensland's Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Ron Glanville said the results were testament to the hard work and united effort by various government agencies and industry groups.

"The movement restrictions and vaccination programme are working well. However, it is as important now as it ever was to ensure that everyone follows the rules and guidelines to the letter, to ensure that we continue moving forward. This is a critical time and everyone must be vigilant to help stop the spread of this virus," Dr Glanville said.

Now that the number of new infections being reported is very low, it is more important than ever that people report suspicious disease signs so that progress can be monitored accurately. To date, the Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries (DPI&F) has distributed more than 91,700 doses of the vaccine.

Last Friday, some significant changes were introduced, including some areas such as Maroochy Shire, Dalby and Stanthorpe moving out of the red zone and into what is now classified as a new Amber Zone.

Dr Glanville encouraged all horse owners, regardless of which zone they are in, to "get the facts" about the new changes before they move any horses, as strict conditions still apply in a large part of south east Queensland and the risk of disease spread remains.

Information is available at the website www.dpi.qld.gov.au or call 13 25 23 to ask any questions.

This was the first significant zoning change since the EI outbreak started in August. If good progress with disease eradication continues the prospect of further relaxation of movement conditions is good.

"Queensland has earned national respect for its response to the outbreak, a view that's supported by the Australian Veterinary Association, Queensland Racing, Queensland Harness Racing, thoroughbred industries and the performance and pleasure horse industries," Dr Glanville said.

"All of these organisations are represented at weekly meetings chaired by the DPI&F Director General, Jim Varghese, and this has ensured that everyone involved knows what we are doing and why, and has an opportunity to discuss their issues."

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