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FEI Veterinary Epidemiology Working Group: Independent review on possible mandatory EHV vaccination to be conducted

Friday, 07 May 2021

The FEI Veterinary Epidemiology Working Group held the eighth of its weekly meetings on Thursday 6 May. The Group reviewed the current situation in mainland Europe, focusing on the two positives at a jumping event in Opglabbeek, Belgium, ongoing implementation of the Return To Competition measures and continued its discussions on defining and declaring an infectious disease outbreak.

The report from the meeting reads: 

"Current situation

The Group was provided with an update on the situation in mainland Europe, including information on the two EHV-1 positives at Opglabbeek (BEL) following mandatory weekly PCR testing under the FEI Return To Competition measures at events where competition takes place over consecutive weeks with horses stabled in the same airspace. Both horses had tested negative for EHV-1 prior to travel to Opglabbeek.

The FEI Veterinary Director advised the Group that on retest, two of the athlete’s five horses had returned positive, but none of the five are showing clinical signs. No other horses were stabled within six metres of the two positive horses during the previous week’s CSI at the venue. All five horses, which were previously in isolation onsite at Opglabbeek, are now in external quarantine off-venue. The five horses have been blocked in the FEI Database, and will need to fulfill the biosecurity requirements (21-day isolation period and negative PCR test result) before they can be unblocked. The two positive samples are to be sent to the OIE Reference Laboratory in Ireland for gene typing.

The Group supported the conclusion of the FEI Veterinary Department and onsite Veterinary Delegate (VD) risk assessment that there was no need for other Organisers or VDs to take any additional measures to the FEI Return to Competition protocols.

Return To Competition

The Group was updated on the ongoing implementation of the Return To Competition measures, including the number of horses that have been processed through the Examination on Arrival and event checkout processes using the FEI HorseApp.

Work is continuing on defining and declaring an outbreak, based on the principles already available in the FEI Veterinary Regulations and also published on FEI Campus. The Group will receive a final draft from the FEI Veterinary Department in the coming weeks.

Laboratory update

The Group was advised that there is still a considerable amount of ongoing work on analysis and sequencing.


It was agreed that an independent review should be conducted on the possibility of making EHV vaccination mandatory for global equestrian sports. The Group will provide proposals for candidates to conduct this review.

The Group’s next meeting is scheduled for 12 May 2021."

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