Australia%20Map%20RED%20LR.jpgThere’s no stopping the flu, it seems even the rich people aren’t exempt.

Australia ’s equine influenza epidemic has reached the New South Wales base of Darley. Although the facility was under complete lockdown, three high-priced yearlings residing at the Hunter Valley farm have been confirmed with the virus. Darley’s Australian General Manager Oliver Tait said, “EI is spreading quickly and we were not surprised when a small number of our yearlings began to display clinical signs of the virus. We contacted the DPI (Department of Primary Industries) immediately and their tests confirmed that it has reached our property.”

Oliver TaitOliver Tait (Darley)Darley’s NSW neighbours include Segenhoe, where a teaser pony tested positive over the weekend. In addition to strictly adhering to bio-security protocols, Darley had been restricting the movement of people and horses on and off the property since 26 August. “It is apparent that the virus is airborne, as our NSW property has been in lockdown for two weeks,” Tait added. “We have continually been seeking advice from leading epidemiologists in the UK and USA since the outbreak of EI in Australia and their advice to us is that vaccination is unequivocally the only way forward. Containment efforts have probably assisted in slowing the spread of the virus, but it is clear that they have not stopped it. Surely now we must focus on a vaccination strategy rather than a restriction of movement in order to stop the spread of EI into other parts of Australia. We have a stud in Victoria and I naturally have concerns it will, in time, also become a victim of EI.”

The DPI is still resisting vaccination, which will cost around Aus$200 per horse.

Extract from TDN 10/09/07