Control of Infection

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Control of EIA is primarily by preventing transmission of infection to other horses through insect vector control, avoiding high risk procedures and detection of infected animals and their prompt destruction.

If infection is suspected, or a horse is suspected of having been in contact with an infected horse:

  • Stop all movement of horses on and off the premises.
  • Seek veterinary advice.
  • Isolate the horse (ideally in a vector-proof stable) and notify the APHA immediately. Isolate any other horses with which the horse has had contact (“in-contact” horses).
  • Any directions given by the APHA must be followed, including implementation of vector control.
  • Treat the horse(s) as advised by the APHA and the attending veterinary surgeon (see treatment advice below).
  • Group all other horses on the premises away from in-contact horses until freedom from infection is confirmed.
  • Any non-urgent actions that could pose a risk of transmission of infection between horses on the premises (such as non-essential veterinary treatment or non-essential contact with staff) should be halted. For essential treatment, the principle of one syringe and one needle for each horse should be strictly followed.
  • Veterinary procedures represent a particular risk. Veterinary equipment must therefore be either destroyed after use or appropriately sterilised.
  • In addition to the APHA, inform:
  • Owners (or persons authorised to act on their behalf) of horses at, or due to arrive at, the premises;
  • Owners (or persons authorised to act on their behalf) of horses which have recently left the premises;
  • The national breeders’ association.
  • Stables, equipment and vehicles used for horse transport must be cleaned and disinfected.
  • Good hygiene must be exercised, including the use of different staff and equipment for each group of horses, where possible. If this is not possible, staff who have handled infected or in-contact horses must disinfect their hands and change clothes before handling other horses. If separate equipment cannot be used for different groups of horses, it must be sterilised or appropriately disinfected before each use.
  • The virus can survive in blood, faeces and tissue so all such material must be removed and destroyed promptly and surfaces disinfected.

Horses that have come into contact with an infected horse or a horse which is suspected of being infected must be quarantined for a minimum of 90 days postexposure. Blood testing must be repeated as directed by the APHA until freedom from disease is confirmed.

Any horse testing positive for EIA will be subject to compulsory slaughter and disposal under the Animal Health Act 1981.