Tuesday 28 August 2007

Down horsey, down, but not in a bad way

We've all heard drama after drama that has plagued the Cairns Amateurs over the last week. Now with the Equine influenza outbreak, one has quickly forgotten the Esky and youth ban and subsequent flip flops by the Cairns Jockey Club and the Queensland LLA.

The equine horse flu was first detected near Sydney on Friday night, and is thought to have been transmitted to non-competitive horses, which took the virus to an event in Maitland.
From there, it spread around NSW and to Warwick. The flu has forced the GG's into lockdown around the country.

600 cases at more than 100 sites are now recorded. No racehorses have yet tested positive, but a Mr Ed want talk about it to this reporter.

Horse jokes aside (for now), Equine influenza is a major virus disease that causes flu-like symptoms in horses and is from the group of viruses that causes flu in humans. This is a viral disease present throughout Europe, North America and parts of Asia. Most horses exposed to the virus will show signs within a period of 1-5 days. It appears similar to a range of other viral respiratory diseases, and are responsible for coughs and colds. Most viruses produce rather mild signs which include a discharge from the nose and coughing.

Equine Influenza produces more severe symptoms with horses developing a fever and a dry hacking cough. Horses become ill and are reluctant to eat or drink but often recover in 3 weeks.

The virus can be spread easily from horse to horse from nasal droplets and from things like infected brushes and rugs. The disease is very contagious and is nearly 100% infection rate in horses that have been previously unexposed.

The most likely way that the disease could have be introduced into Australia is through an imported horse.

I understand that the virus can affect Stallions, Geldings, and Mayors, indiscriminately.
I wonder if any Mayors in Cairns might contract Equine influenza?

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