On Thursday 23rd February, the FEI sent out a news bulletin warning of EHV-1 cases. The email was as follows:
|Update on confirmed EHV-1 cases in Lier (BEL) and Oliva (ESP)|
We would like to provide the equestrian community with a brief overview of the situation and measures that have been taken by the FEI in the past 48 hours, in consultation with respective National Federations and Organising Committees following a confirmed case of EHV-1 in Lier (BEL) and four confirmed cases in Oliva (ESP).
A horse presenting symptoms on the weekend in Lier was immediately isolated and following confirmation of EHV-1 at the start of the week, the concerned horse and an additional 25 horses deemed to be in-contact were blocked from the FEI database.
The Persons Responsible (PRs) have all been notified, alongside their respective National Federations and National Head Veterinarians (NHVs).
The affected horse and each of the 25 in-contact horses are prevented from attending any FEI events until they have fulfilled certain health requirements which are imposed in order to minimize any potential transmission of the virus, both to their own horses and the wider horse population.
In Oliva, the FEI is working closely with the Spanish National Federation, the Spanish Veterinary Authority and the Organising Committee following four confirmed cases of EHV-1. These four horses were among ten horses stabled in the same stable block that developed fever or were deemed as close in-contacts. They were immediately isolated and tested, with four returning a positive test for EHV-1. There have been no reports of any neurological signs in these horses.
All the precautionary measures to minimise the risk of transmission have been swiftly applied, and ALL the horses attending Oliva from 7 February to 22 February – more than 1,000 horses – have been blocked in the FEI database. This includes any horses that may have already left Oliva to compete at other FEI events. Again all the PRs and their NFs have been notified.
For the 82 horses stabled in the same block as the four horses that tested positive, they are required to stay onsite for at least seven days with measures and testing protocols to be fulfilled prior to leaving the venue, while for the remaining horses, they can leave the venue as soon they have completed a pre-departure veterinary check.
Biosecurity measures taken
All the horses from Lier (BEL) and Oliva (ESP) that have been blocked in the FEI database are prevented from attending any FEI events until they have fulfilled certain health requirements which are imposed in order to minimise any potential transmission of the virus, both to their own horses and the wider horse population.
The mandatory biosecurity measures include isolation for a minimum of 21 days, taking twice daily rectal temperatures and conducting laboratory testing for EHV-1. Release from isolation can only take place on the advice of a veterinarian and in order to be “un-blocked” and have access to FEI Events, the horses will need to comply with all the return to competition protocols and have the restriction lifted by the FEI Veterinary Department.
The Organising Committee of the Mediterranean Equestrian Tour in Oliva has cancelled the second part of its Spring MET II Tour (Spring MET II, 7-26 February). Currently, the FEI is not planning on cancelling any FEI Events but is monitoring the situation closely. We would like to take this opportunity to reiterate the importance of the FEI’s Horse Health Requirements, and the necessity to fulfil the Horse Health Requirements via the FEI HorseApp to ensure the maximum safety for all horses competing at international events.
We would also like to remind the equestrian community that the Horse Health Requirements put in place by the FEI and in accordance with Art. 1027 and 1029 of the FEI 2023 Veterinary Regulations, since 1 January 2022, are a crucial preventative biosecurity tool, and it is of utmost importance that these requirements are consistently applied by all.
All information in relation to the Horse Health Requirements is available on the dedicated Horse Health Requirements hub. Should you have any questions regarding this matter, don’t hesitate to contact the FEI Veterinary Department.