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The FEI Veterinary Epidemiology Working Group: Good compliance with Return To Competition protocols

Friday, 23 April 2021
EHV-1 (neurological form) outbreak

The FEI Veterinary Epidemiology Working Group held the sixth of its weekly meetings on the 22nd of April 2021. The Group reviewed the current situation in mainland Europe, and was briefed on the Return To Competition measures.

The report from the meeting reads: 


"Current situation

The Group was advised that EHV-1 cases – unrelated to the outbreak in Spain – have been reported in Italy, Sweden, Great Britain, Ireland and France.

Return to competition

The FEI Veterinary Director reported on the return to competition protocols, confirming that there was good compliance and that the measures are functioning correctly. Pre-inspection of event sites is generally going well. At events where pre-arrival PCR testing is required, most results have been uploaded onto the FEI HorseApp. Monitoring is being conducted by the FEI to ensure that horses which have not been tested are not allowed entry to venues.

A number of events have carried out the first session of the mandatory weekly PCR testing and no positives have been reported to date.

The Group was advised that since the measures came into force on 12 April, FEI Veterinarians have used the FEI HorseApp to process more than 6,300 horses through the Examination on Arrival system at 30 different venues, including recording temperatures.

Further discussion on defining and declaring an outbreak of EHV-1 revolved around a risk hierarchy to categorise early warning signs of an outbreak and the necessary rapid actions to mitigate risks.

Research work

There was an update provided on five positive samples for which the EHV-1 Clade 10 virus has been almost fully sequenced by researchers at Ghent University in Belgium. These are not novel viruses. The genome sequences are now available for researchers.

EHV vaccines

The Group discussed vaccine availability and licensing processes.

There was also discussion about the use of Valaciclovir in the treatment of EHV-1. While it was agreed that early use of the drug may result in only mild and short-lived clinical signs, its efficacy was difficult to evaluate in a field situation. Further follow-up is needed on this.

The next meeting is scheduled for 29 April 2021."

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