There is no vaccine available for EIA. Prevention of EIA is therefore based on the establishment of freedom from infection by blood (“serological”) testing.
A blood sample for the EIA test can be collected from the horse at the same time as the blood sample for the EVA test (which should be taken after 1 January and within 28 days before mating).
Recommendations for prevention – all horses
In every year, the safest option is to establish freedom from infection, by means of a blood test, in mares, stallions and teasers before breeding activities commence. This includes all resident horses and horses due to visit the premises, prior to arrival.
Mare owners should check the stallion and/or boarding stud’s requirements well in advance of the mare’s date of travel. Stallion studs may require pre-mating EIA testing of all visiting mares, whether or not they have recently or ever visited a country where EIA is endemic or has occurred recently. If testing is required, the blood sample should be taken after 1 January and ideally within 28 days of mating.
The same timing and recommendations apply to pre-season testing of stallions (including teasers) in any year.
The relevant breeders’ association may have additional testing requirements.
Recommendations for prevention – horses intended for travel to countries affected by EIA
Owners should attempt to ensure, as far as possible, that their horse will not come into direct contact with horses at risk of EIA infection while in a country where EIA is endemic or has occurred recently. This includes horses quarantined for EIA, horses at premises that are restricted or under investigation for EIA and horses that do not have a recent negative EIA blood test result.
Recommendations for prevention – horses arriving in or returning to the UK from an affected country
The level of risk associated with any particular horse will depend on the management of the horse while it was in the affected country. Depending on the particular scenario, the following recommendations apply:
1. Horses coming from infected premises or premises under quarantine or investigation for EIA, or that have had contact with any horse considered to be a primary contact in an affected country
These horses should not be imported and should be prevented from being imported by the affected country’s veterinary authorities.
If, for whatever reason, importation does occur, in all cases, the safest option is to isolate the horse in a vector-proof stable and to blood test the horse at least 30 days after the last known contact or the date of importation. The test should be repeated at 60 and 90 days under the direction of the APHA.
Horses regarded as primary contacts (those arriving from premises which are infected, quarantined or under investigation for EIA) are at increased risk of disease and should be placed in isolation and reported immediately to the APHA, who will arrange for a veterinary enquiry to be carried out. The APHA will decide on measures to be taken, taking into consideration the risk factors involved. Restrictions may be placed on the premises where the horse is located.
The level of risk for horses regarded as secondary contacts (those which have come into contact with primary contact horse(s)) depends on the degree and nature of the connection with the primary contacts. Each individual case should be considered carefully but all such horses should be closely monitored and, if there is any cause for concern, the horse should be isolated and reported to the local APHA Field Service office.
2. Other horses arriving from an affected country
Horses arriving or returning from an affected country that have not visited infected premises or premises under quarantine or investigation, or come into contact with infected horses or primary contacts, have a low risk of infection. The health of the horse should be monitored and veterinary advice sought if there is any cause for concern.