African Horse Sickness Found in Western Cape

Two horses in South Africa’s Western Cape have tested positive for African horse sickness, reported officials in that area.
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Two horses in South Africa's Western Cape have tested positive for African horse sickness (AHS), reported officials in that area.

According to a public notice issued Friday (March 14) by Dr. John Grewar, state veterinarian (epidemiology) for the Provincial Government of the Western Cape Department of Agriculture Veterinary Services, a private veterinarian tested two horses suspected of having the virus, and those samples came back positive, indicating both horses are positive for serotype 1 AHS. The affected horses reside in the Porterville area, and the source of infection is currently unknown.

Subsequently, the Western Cape state veterinary services developed a containment zone with movement restrictions—meaning no equids can be moved within, out of, or through the specified area.

"The clinical signs seen on the affected property are mild in comparison to previous AHS outbreaks, and no mortalities occurred that have been AHS confirmed as yet," the statement reads. "We thus ask members of the public to be vigilant in their inspection of their horses in the containment area prior to riding or training them as exercising a horse with mild infection may cause the disease to progress faster than expected

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Erica Larson, former news editor for The Horse, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.

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