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Yesterday afternoon the BHA reported that testing was ongoing with thousands of samples still in the queue, but that no additional horses (beyond the 6 previously reported) had tested positive for the H3N8 equine flu virus.
That good news was short-lived, however, as late last night (UK time), the BHA tweeted (see above) that (4) further cases had been identified.Last Saturday we learned that `Confirmation has also been received that the strain of the virus is the “Florida Clade 1” strain, which is endemic to North and South America, and is different from Clade 2 strain that is endemic to Europe.'
While UK racehorses are vaccinated against both Clade 1 and Clade 2, the BHA stated that the Clade 1 virus was `. . . clearly more virulent than the European strain and therefore able to affect vaccinated horses, though the vaccine will provide some protection.We should get a more detailed statement later today, but for now, last night's full statement follows:
10 Feb 2019
The horseracing community in Newmarket is tonight being informed that four positive tests for equine influenza have been returned this evening in vaccinated thoroughbreds at the yard of a licensed flat trainer in Newmarket.
The affected yard is that of Simon Crisford, who has been named in order to ensure that the Newmarket community is aware of the yard at which an infection has been identified. No non-urgent journeys should be made to this yard – including by the media – and anyone who wishes to travel to the yard is advised to first contact the trainer’s office.
This yard is one of the 174 which has been required to undergo testing due to the fact that runners from the stable competed at the fixture at Newcastle on 5 February, which had been identified as a potential risk fixture. At the moment the affected horses are all contained within this yard.
The Newmarket community – including licensed trainers, veterinary surgeries, farriers, racing school and all other relevant bodies – are being advised to continue to show increased vigilance in biosecurity. Full guidance is available through the NTF website:
This information is being relayed to the Newmarket community immediately in order to ensure that appropriate action can be taken ahead of any morning activities. The BHA will be in further contact with Newmarket trainers tomorrow morning.
A further update will be issued as early as possible tomorrow. This will include further details of action that is being taken off the back of this incident, and how the process will operate for the decision which will be made tomorrow evening regarding whether it is possible to resume racing on Wednesday 13 February.
Notes to Editors
1. The latest daily update, issued on Sunday 10 February, can be found here: https://bit.ly/2WTvkmU
For some additional reading on Equine Influenza, you may wish to revisit:
Equine H3N8: Looking At A long-shot In The Pandemic Sweepstakes
Epizootics, Host Ranges, and Conventional Wisdom
EID Journal: Equine H3N8 In Mongolian Bactrian Camel
Morens and Taubenberger: A New Look At The Panzootic Of 1872