The following is a message that was released to the horse industry of Victoria, Australia, on March 31, from the Acting Chief Veterinary Officer:

A horse was imported from Hong Kong toVictoria, and was found to be infected with piroplasmosis, a disease exotic to Australia.


Equine piroplasmosis (otherwise known as equine babesiosis) is a tick-borne protozoal disease of equids characterised by fever, anemia and jaundice. It can also be spread by contaminated needles and other equipment. Recovered horses become chronic carriers without clinical signs.

A four-year-old retired Thoroughbred gelding was imported into Australia from Hong Kong on 7 March 2000. Government health certification accompanying the horse indicated that it met all Australian import conditions. The horse had been tested positive for equine piroplasmosis prior to export to Australia. Six other retired racehorses in the same export batch were reported as negative. Due to an oversight in Hong Kong, the positive horse was inadvertently authorized to travel to Australia.

The Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) detected the discrepancy while the shipment was in post-arrival quarantine at the Commonwealth Government Quarantine Station at Spotswood, Victoria. All seven horses were retested during post-arrival quarantine. The seropositive horse was again confirmed as positive and the six other horses tested negative. The seropositive horse was euthanized on 23 March and then incinerated. As a precaution, the other six imported horses are being kept in isolation for 36 days and must be re-tested negative before release from quarantine control.


There is no threat to the Victorian horse population as the horse was detected during post-arrival quarantine and appropriate measures have been taken to prevent spread.

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