The BEF continues to closely monitor the equine influenza outbreak and notes the latest figures from the Animal Health Trust, which reveal that the number of equine influenza outbreaks confirmed in June has now surpassed any other month since the start of 2019. As of 21 June, a total of 37 confirmed diagnoses had been made – February, previously the month with the highest number of outbreaks, saw a total of 35 diagnoses. The total number of cases since the start of the year has now exceeded 130.
It is thought that the higher number of positive diagnoses is due to the increased movement and mixing of horses that typically occurs during this time of year, with these horses then returning to their home yards and mixing with unvaccinated individuals.
The vast majority of the diagnoses made to date in June have been in horses who aren’t vaccinated against equine influenza.
The BEF urges owners to maintain their vigilance and ensure their vaccination records are up to date. We strongly recommend that if it has been longer than six months since the last vaccination, owners should discuss a booster with their veterinary surgeon.
It is also vital that unvaccinated horses do not mix with other equines due to the increased risk of such an infectious disease spreading. In addition, the Animal Health Trust has suggested that new or returning horses are quarantined to try to limit the spread of the disease.
Our recommendations are based on advice from experts in equine flu and epidemiology with experience in managing previous outbreaks.