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The FEI Veterinary Epidemiology Working Group: Return To Competition measures well received

Thursday, 08 April 2021
EHV-1 (neurological form)

Report from the FEI Veterinary Epidemiology Working Group's fourth meeting

The FEI Veterinary Epidemiology Working Group held the fourth of its weekly meetings on 7 April 2021. The group discussed the current situation with the virus in mainland Europe, globally available vaccines and also reviewed the list of laboratories recommended by National Head Veterinarians that can conduct PCR testing in line with the FEI’s Return To Competition measures. There was also discussion on the turnaround time for test results, depending on the capacity of the laboratory and other factors such as public holidays.


The report from the meeting reads: 


"Current situation

There are no known new outbreaks linked to the Spanish events and, in the view of the Group, there are no indications that it is not safe to resume competition in mainland Europe as planned on 12 April provided the mandated biosecurity measures are in place.


The Group discussed the situation in the USA, where vaccination is mandatory at a national level, and France, where there is a proposal to make it mandatory for sport horses. However, a National Federation can only impose mandatory vaccination at national level.

The FEI Veterinary Directory is continuing to meet with the pharmaceutical industry to discuss vaccines. There had been some reported interruptions in the supply chain, but the availability of EHV vaccines within Europe will be substantially improved by next month.

Return To Competition

The Group was advised that the Return To Competition measures had been well received, and had generated many questions, including requests from Organisers to approve stabling solutions for their events. The Group agreed that there was scientific merit in getting additional expertise in the methods of stabling horses, particularly with regard to configuration, in order to minimise exposure for the future.

Stable-side EHV-1 testing 

The Group discussed the efficacy of stable-side EHV-1 testing systems. A number of companies have contacted the FEI about supplying these machines. The OIE Reference Laboratory at the Irish Equine Centre has offered to provide proficiency testing kits for these systems.

The Group continued its discussion on the elements that need to be considered when declaring an EHV outbreak and this will be included as an agenda item for the next meeting.

The Group’s next meeting is scheduled for 15 April 2021."

FEI-approved laboratories for EHV-1 PCR testing

The FEI has also published a list of approved laboratories that can be used for PCR testing for EHV-1, as well as a 'Pre-Event Biosecurity Measures Checklist' that will be used by official veterinarians appointed to go to designated venues (those stabling more than 400 horses) one week in advance of their event.

These are now available in the Forms & Downloads section of the Return To Competition page, which also includes the 'Horse Arrival procedure', the 'FEI Equine Health Self-Certification form' and a list of events in mainland Europe from 12 April to 30 May 2021 that will be covered by the temporary measures.

FEI meets with the jumping organisers

The FEI Veterinary and Jumping Directors have furthermore initiated a series of meetings with organisers of jumping events with more than 400 horses that will take place during the seven-week period when the Return To Competition measures will be in force.

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