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'Swamp fever' case in Cornwall

Wed, 03 October 2012
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Defra, the Government's department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, has confirmed that a horse in Cornwall has tested positive for Equine Infectious Anaemia (EIA), commonly known as 'swamp fever'.

A viral disease normally spread by insects, the infection has been in the news this week after a horse trained at Cologne racecourse in Germany tested positive for the disease.

Last year's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner Danedream is also housed at Cologne, along with over 300 other horses and all of them have been grounded for 90 days in quarantine, meaning Peter Schiergen's filly cannot defend her title in Paris on Sunday.

The infected horse at the Cornwall stables was a non-thoroughbred and has been put down, with restrictions placed and others being tested.

Professor Tim Morris, Director of Equine Science and Welfare for the British Horseracing Authority, said the Cornwall case was not one that should affect racing.

In a statement, Morris said: "We are aware that a case of Equine Infectious Anaemia (EIA) has been detected in a horse in Cornwall. However, we would like to reassure racing followers that this is a situation which should not affect the British Racing industry.

"British Racing has a long-term relationship with Defra who are controlling the incident. The incident is not in close proximity to any racing yard and can only be spread by biting flies so a quarantine zone of only 200 metres is required to control the disease.

"Our links with Defra ensure that we have the structure in place to react to incidents of this nature effectively, though this does again stress the importance of taking disease in racing seriously.

"Across thoroughbred racing and breeding there has been a concerted effort to produce a suite of information on disease prevention and containment, with codes of practice in place for the Training, Breeding and Racecourse industries.

"In addition the Levy Board has committed significant funding to research into disease surveillance via the Animal Health Trust."

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