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The FEI Veterinary Epidemiology Working Group: Continued discussion on EHV vaccination policy

Monday, 24 May 2021

The FEI Veterinary Epidemiology Working Group held the 10th of its weekly meetings on the 19th of May 2021. 

The report from the meeting reads: 

"The Group was provided with information on the current situation in mainland Europe, focusing on the Ornago positives.

In addition to the index horse, a further three horses have now tested positive after leaving Ornago. Two of these were housed in the same on-venue barn as the index horse, and resulted in a further 24 horses being blocked in the FEI Database this week (18 May).

A third positive horse that had participated in Ornago was housed in a different barn to the index horse. (Post-meeting update: this third horse was blocked on the FEI Database on 20 May. Following a detailed risk assessment conducted by the FEI Veterinary Department on receipt of the stable plan from the Organisers, a further six horses stabled in close proximity to the positive horse were blocked on the FEI Database on 21 May – see Timeline.)

Labeo, the French laboratory, is working on characterising the virus in the Ornago samples.

Two horses that tested positive for EHV-1 following mandatory sampling at the five-week tour event in Kunkiai (LTU) earlier this month, tested negative on 15 May.

Three horses have tested positive for neurological EHV-1 in the UK, but there is no known link to the Spanish outbreak. Screening of horses that have returned from the Iberian Peninsula is ongoing.

There have been no neurological EHV-1 cases in Ireland this year. All Irish horses that have returned from events on the Iberian Peninsula have completed quarantine and tested negative for EHV-1.

The Group agreed that while the Ornago situation requires careful monitoring, there is no increased risk relating to other events or National Federations.

Laboratory update

The weekly update on the ongoing laboratory work included information on Clade 10 viruses sequencing and preparation for submitting them to the international genetic sequence database, GenBank. A Swiss laboratory is working on sequencing isolates.

The Group discussed the criteria for listing of laboratories that are analysing samples for EHV-1. The Group suggested that, in the absence of ISO accreditation, laboratories should participate in voluntary proficiency testing on an annual basis in order to be listed.

EHV vaccination policy

The Group continued its discussion on the independent review of the EHV vaccination policy and discussed the scope of the project.

The project, based on best information available, will look at how to quantify whether vaccination is effective, cost vs benefit, and the pros and cons of vaccination.

The Group’s next meeting is scheduled for 28 May 2021."

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