African Horse Sickness Suspected in Western Cape
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Gerrit van Rensburg, today confirmed that a horse died on a holding just North of Melkbosstrand on the West Coast. Preliminary laboratory results indicate that the cause of death might be African horse sickness (AHS). The affected holding falls within the AHS Surveillance Zone.
Van Rensburg said as a precautionary measure, the following veterinary control measures are hereby declared in terms of the Animal Diseases Act, 1984 (Act 35 of 1984) and allied legislation:
1. No horses, mules, donkeys or zebra may be moved within, into, out of, or through the area described below:
- Northern border: Brakkefontein Road linking the R304 (Mamre Road) from the East to the R27 (West Coast Road) and extending to the Atlantic Ocean.
- Eastern Boundary: The R304 linking Brakkefontein Road to the North to the M19 (Melkbosstrand Road) in the South.
- Southern Boundary: Melkbosstrand Road (M19) linking the R304 and continuing west to link to 11th Avenue in Melkbosstrand and extending to the Atlantic Ocean.
- Western Boundary: The Atlantic Ocean coast line linking 11th Avenue in Melkbosstrand in the South through to the extension of Brakkefontein Road in the North.
2. This movement ban will come into force immediately and will remain in force until repealed by a further order issued by Veterinary Services of the Western Cape Department of Agriculture.
3. Movements of equids through this area on the West Coast Road (R27) may take place under cover of a Red Cross Permit and according to the conditions specified therein, issued by a State Veterinarian (see contact details below). Such movements will only be considered for movements during daylight hours, in veterinary sealed vehicles travelling straight through the area in a northerly or southerly direction without any stopping or deviation.
4. All horses within this area must be stabled as for as possible from two hours before sunset until two hours after sunrise. In addition, they must be treated with effective insect repellents to prevent midges feeding on them.
5. All occurrences of horses becoming sick or dying must immediately be reported to the closest State Veterinarian (see contact details below) in order for Veterinary Services to investigate the possible cause of such disease or death.
6. Infringement of these conditions may lead to prosecution in terms of the Animal Diseases Act.
7. Any deviation from these requirements or non-conformances can be reported to Dr Gary Buhrmann, Chief State Veterinarian, Boland on office number 021 808 5026, fax number 021 808 5125 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Van Rensburg added that general movement restrictions are still being implemented nationally and horses may only move to the AHS Controlled Area within the Western Cape under the following conditions:
Horses may no longer move directly into the Western Cape AHS Control Zones from anywhere in the Infected zone, but will have to stop-over for a minimum of three weeks; or two weeks followed by a PCR test, in Beaufort West outside the AHS Control Area, under supervision of the local State Veterinarian.
- All such movements must be co-ordinated with the relevant State Veterinarian.
- The local State Veterinarian at origin of the horse must also give approval before the horse can move.
- Horses must still comply with the AHS protocol for movements prior to leaving any such restricted areas.
Van Rensburg said we are still in the highest risk period of the year for AHS and horse owners in close proximity to outbreaks throughout the country are strongly advised to:
- Stable their horses overnight or move to high-lying areas if possible, from two hours before sunset until two hours after sunrise while the midges are active.
- Ensure all horses are correctly vaccinated, especially if they are in high-risk areas and not stabled. Only the Onderstepoort Biological Products AHS vaccine is registered for use.
- Ensure horses are also treated with insect repellents daily.
- Utilise fans in stables to keep midges out.
- Monitor horses' temperature daily to ensure they are clinically healthy.
Van Rensburg urges all horse owners to co-operate in assisting with the implementation of these movements controls and thus potentially prevent an outbreak of AHS in the Western Cape Controlled Area.