Equine Influenza Hits Malaysia

Officials believe international horse transport is behind the country’s first influenza outbreak in nearly 40 years.
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International horse transport has been blamed for the first outbreak of equine influenza in Malaysia in nearly 40 years. The occurrence has resulted in a disruption of events in the racing industry and a complete ban on horse movement in and out of the country, according to official reports.

Horse races across the country have been cancelled since the outbreak was detected in late August. However, morning gallops were allowed to resume at affected courses last week.

As many as 400 horses might have been exposed to the disease at the Selangor Turf Club in Kuala Lumpur, said Mohamad Azmie Zakaria, DVM, PhD, director general and chief veterinary officer in the Department of Veterinary Services and Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry in Putrajaya.

Of those horses, two were found to be positive for equine influenza in mid-August. Both horses had been imported, Zakaria reported in an official outbreak notification published by the World Animal Health Organization (OIE). According to the Malayan Racing Association (MRA) in Keri Kembangan, as many as 90 horses have fallen ill at Selangor. “Those treated with antibiotics are recovering well,” said Krishna Kumar K, secretary at the MRA

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Passionate about horses and science from the time she was riding her first Shetland Pony in Texas, Christa Lesté-Lasserre writes about scientific research that contributes to a better understanding of all equids. After undergrad studies in science, journalism, and literature, she received a master’s degree in creative writing. Now based in France, she aims to present the most fascinating aspect of equine science: the story it creates. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

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