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The FEI Veterinary Epidemiology Working Group: No increased risk of EHV-1 in mainland Europe

Monday, 17 May 2021

The FEI Veterinary Epidemiology Working Group held the ninth of its weekly meetings on the 12 May 2021.

The report from the meeting reads: 

"The Group was updated on the current situation in mainland Europe, with discussion mainly focusing on the positive PCR results in Opglabbeek (BEL) and Ornago (ITA). The FEI is following up on results of PCR testing offered to horses housed in the same stable tent as the index horse at Opglabbeek.

The Group was advised that there is limited information available on a case of EHV-1 in Norway, and was also informed about a group of eight horses in Sweden that have shown neurological signs and tested negative for EHV-1. The Swedish horses remain under investigation and a definitive diagnosis of EHV-1 is unlikely. In addition, an EHV-1 neurological outbreak has been reported in the UK. There are no known links to the Spanish outbreaks. No EHV-1 neurological outbreaks have been reported in Ireland.

The Group concluded that there is no increased risk of EHV-1 in mainland Europe.

Laboratory update

Isolates from the Dressage horse that tested positive to EHV-1 after tests taken in Ornago are being further analysed at the French laboratory Labeo to determine whether there are any links to the Spanish outbreak.


Following agreement at the week’s previous meeting that an independent review should be conducted on the possibility of making EHV vaccination mandatory for global equestrian sports, it was concluded that this review should include whether vaccines are effective in preventing outbreaks of neurological disease, as well as a risk assessment of events involving unvaccinated horses. The Group provided a number of candidates to conduct this review and they will now be approached.

Equine Health Self-Certification Form 

The Group discussed the equine health self-certification form required under the Return To Competition measures and, more specifically, the veterinarian’s role in signing the forms. It was determined that only veterinarians who were staff members based at the stables in question would be able to declare they had not attended any sick animals at the stables. The form will remain unchanged and any resulting sanctions would be directed to the Person Responsible (PR) as determined by the FEI Rules.

The Group’s next meeting is scheduled for 19 May 2021."

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