Wednesday, 07 April 2021
Following the successful implementation of protocols for horses returning to the UK who might potentially have been impacted by the EHV-1 outbreak in Europe, British Equestrian is pleased to report that the disease risk in the UK is nearing normal levels. However, the recommendation on the use of health self-certification forms for UK equine gatherings remains in place for the foreseeable future to help manage the risk.
British Equestrian’s Equine Infectious Diseases Action Group (EIDAG) has considered data on the prevalence of EHV-1 diagnosis in UK over the last three years and concluded that, while EHV-1 remains a persistent and ever-present threat, the mildly increased disease risk level announced on 18 March is now dropping towards the baseline number of cases seen in any other year.
The process of monitoring and laboratory testing, which was imposed on horses that had been in direct contact with EHV-1 outbreaks at competitions in the Iberian peninsula and subsequently across Europe, is going extremely well.
While some of the horses currently suspended from competition are still to complete the protocols that will enable them to compete in the UK, all horses that have completed the laboratory testing option detailed in the protocols have thus far shown no active infection. Currently, there is no change to the EIDAG’s recommendation that these testing protocols must be completed in full before these horses return to competition.
The EIDAG encourages event organisers to continue to request that competitors complete a self-certification of equine health and freedom from disease contact form. However, the group anticipates that by 12 April, it may be possible to remove the current restriction that, to attend UK horse gatherings, horses must have been resident in this country for the last 28 days. A new template will be circulated to British Equestrian’s member bodies to remove this restriction after 12 April, providing that the current disease risk level continues to fall.
British Equestrian Chief Executive Jim Eyre commented; “This is welcome news. We know that EHV is endemic in this country, but the threat posed by the European outbreak was a cause for great concern. I’d like to thank the member bodies and all their riders, owners and grooms, who embraced and followed the protocols so readily and with such commitment. We’re also grateful to the members of the EIDAG – Celia Marr and her team have been a huge support and played an instrumental part in mitigating any risk of the spread of EHV and keeping our collective equine population safe.”