Minister McConalogue endorses equine disease (EHV-1) control advice following outbreak on the continent


Commenting on the on-going outbreak of Equine Herpesvirus-1 in horses in continental Europe, the Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D., has urged all players in the equine industry to respond to the increased risk that this poses to the equine population in Ireland and to double down on their biosecurity practices and measures.

The Minister stated, “I am aware that Irish horses have been competing across Europe in recent weeks. My officials met with representatives of Horse Sport Ireland and the Irish Equine Centre yesterday (2 March) to develop an appropriate risk mitigating response. Whilst this is not a notifiable disease, given the extent that the virus seems to have spread across Europe and the description of the clinical outcome, I strongly endorse the recommendation from that meeting that all those competing horses, on returning to Ireland follow the EHV-1 protocol for returning FEI horses, to isolate and carry out two PCR tests prior to completing quarantine.”

EHV is a herpes virus that is spread widely across the world including Ireland, where it usually manifests as a respiratory of reproductive disease and occasionally in a paralytic form. Given its ubiquitous nature and the availability of a vaccine, EHV is not a notifiable disease. The disease can be contained by isolation and testing. The Irish Equine Centre is an OIE reference laboratory for EHV and provides support to industry with their  expert advice.

EHV is covered by industry codes of practice, in particular the prevention of EHV infection in breeding stock through good management and hygiene practices as well as regular vaccination. EHV has no zoonotic impacts.

The Minister concluded by recalling the critical importance of animal health in all animal based production systems and no more so than in equine sectors. 


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