The strain of Equine Influenza (EI) virus now in Australia is believed to have:
Horses have tested positive to EI in Queensland, including such centres as Warwick and Goondiwindi.
A retired High Court judge has been appointed by the Commonwealth Government to conduct an independent inquiry into how the EI virus got into Australia in August and how it spread. The inquiry will have wide-ranging powers which will allow witnesses to be subpoenaed and the holding of public hearings. The inquiry will report on the likely cause of the incursion and what measures are needed to maintain the integrity of Australia's quarantine system.
EI is a highly contagious viral disease which spreads rapidly through susceptible horse populations. Transmission occurs primarily between coughing horses via the respiratory route. Equine Influenza clinical signs can include:
The disease is not life-threatening but causes flu-like symptoms which disappears in about 3 weeks. However, affected horses may take up to 3 months to fully recover from the disease and be fit again to resume full training and racing.
Humans can carry and spread the virus on their clothing or bodies but their health is not affected by the virus. The EI virus can survive on human skin and clothes for 48 hours. It is easily killed by cleaning and disinfection. People who have close contact with infected horses can also transfer the disease between premises.