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Equine Influenza - I.H.R.B. Background Information and Policy

What is it?

Equine Influenza Virus (EIV) is a constantly evolving virus responsible for periodic outbreaks of Respiratory (airway) disease in horses.  We describe horses with the disease as suffering with Equine Influenza (EI), commonly referred to throughout the horse industry as “Equine Flu”. As with Human Flu (Influenza), EI is highly contagious.  Although the relevant strain circulating today (the H3N8 strain) was first isolated almost 60 years ago, this strain remains a major threat to horse populations across the globe.  The key to the successful long-term persistence of EIV is down to the ability of the virus to constantly mutate.  Put simply, these mutations enable the virus to evade the horse’s protective immunity and “gain entry”.  You could liken it to the virus always being a step ahead.

What signs do clinically affected or “sick” horses show?
What are the susceptible populations?
We routinely vaccinate our racehorses so why can we still see disease in the Thoroughbred population?
What was learnt from the late 2018/ 2019 outbreak in Europe?
Knowing that the virus is very good at persisting, what can we do to both maximise the intervals between and minimise the severity of subsequent outbreaks?
What are the new intervals for vaccination courses?
What are the current OIE recommendations regarding vaccine composition? (For Veterinary Surgeons)
Further particulars regarding passport certification and protocol.
How do the new EI vaccination intervals adopted by the IHRB compared to those adopted by the BHA and France Galop?

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