Situation Report Two: African Horse Sickness Outbreak
Suspected African horse sickness (AHS) cases were detected through clinical/passive surveillance by a private veterinarian consulting for an Arab horse farmer in the Porterville area. Samples collected from the property from the two clinical cases at the time tested positive to AHS and subsequently typed as serotype 1 AHS.
The positive cases have occurred in the AHS protection zone.
A containment zone with movement restrictions was notified by Western Cape State Veterinary Services on 10 March 2014. The containment zone includes Gouda, Saron, Porterville and up to Piketberg and the Piekeniers Pass in the north of the zone.
Currently there is a two pronged approach to the outbreak :
- State officials are undertaking a census and clinical surveillance programme in the containment zone starting around the affected property and moving outwards to its borders. Included in this is informing the public regarding the current state of the outbreak and explaining the containment zone movement requirements.
- Owners (or owners’ consulting veterinarians) who are informing state officials of suspect clinical cases are being visited and samples are being taken from suspect cases for AHS testing. This includes properties outside of the containment zone.
There are currently five properties with 23 confirmed cases of AHS within the AHS containment zone.
There were three properties outside of the containment zone where sampling was performed in cases of suspected AHS based on clinical signs of disease but all three properties returned negative results.
There is one property in the containment zone where a horse was euthanased after showing clinical signs which may be as a result of AHS. Sample results for this are pending.
The clinical signs seen on the affected property are mild in comparison to previous AHS outbreaks.
There has been one confirmed death as a result of the virus since the beginning of the outbreak.
The census and clinical surveillance undertaken by the state is approximately 80% complete within the AHS containment zone.
Bi-weekly operations meetings are being held with state and industry officials regarding the current state of the outbreak and frequent reports will be communicated.
The source of infection has yet to be established.
It is currently unknown when the containment zone and control measures will be relaxed.
Information regarding the containment zone (boundaries and control measures) can be accessed at www.elsenburg.com.