RESPE: Tracking Contagious Equine Diseases in France

RESPE—the French epidemiological network for equine diseases—works main missions is to monitor equine diseases in France and throughout Europe and to alert the horse industry when a contagious equine disease outbreak is confirmed.

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Depending on the disease, RESPE can issue real-time alerts and/or periodic reports which allow owners, horse keepers, and veterinarians can adapt biosecurity measures based on their proximity to the outbreak and, thus, the risk level for their horses. | Photo: iStock

By Eric Richard, DVM, PhD, HDR, WEVA secretary

The French Equine Veterinary Association (AVEF), a World Equine Veterinary Association (WEVA) member, is responsible for monitoring equine health and welfare. The association achieves this by actively collaborating with the RESPE—Réseau d’Epidémio Surveillance en Pathologie Equine, the French epidemiological network for equine diseases—in France and beyond.

RESPE is the first European epidemiological surveillance network dedicated to equine diseases and is based on a network of field veterinarians—the “sentinel veterinarians.” Founded in 1999, RESPE was initially tied to the AVEF’s Infectious Diseases Committee. In 2008, however, it became an independent association and broadened its mission to improve the structure and cohesion of the French equine industry’s awareness of horse health issues. Veterinarians, stakeholders, researchers, and more work together at RESPE, which brings together the entire French equine industry.

One of RESPE’s main missions is to monitor equine diseases in France and to alert the equine industry when a contagious equine disease outbreak is confirmed. More than 750 sentinel veterinarians throughout France carry out this surveillance. Veterinarians can send epidemiological data and samples through RESPE and analysis is carried out at a partner laboratory

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