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Daily News Items from Australia

19 September 2007

50,000 Vaccinations To Be Imported

Racing NSW chief executive Peter V'Landy's announced government officials are about to sanction the importing of 50,000 equine influenza vaccinations to enable a major vaccination process. V'Landys told Radio Sport 927: "There are 26,000 thoroughbreds in NSW, but we will not have to worry about the horses at Randwick as they have had the virus." (Sep 19)

Large Fines For Not Reporting Sick Horses
NSW Department Of Primary Industries deputy chief veterinary officer Steve Dunn reminded horse owners throughout NSW that they have "a legal responsibility under the Exotic Diseases Act to report any horse displaying flu-like symptoms". He noted: "Failure to report could have widespread & serious implications in terms of our eradication program. Anyone who is found to have ignored this directive faces the full force of the law." The maximum penalty for non reporting is $22,000. (Sep 19)

Qld Restricted Meetings Confirmed For Weekend
Queensland Racing confirmed that, following a meeting with Department Of Primary Industries & Fisheries officials, the race meetings at Toowoomba on Friday, Eagle Farm on Saturday & the Sunshine Coast on Sunday "will be conducted as restricted meetings for horses approved to walk to the facilities". (Sep 19)

Vic Remain Free From Horse Flu
Racing Victoria confirmed: "Victoria remains free of equine influenza & border controls (between Victoria-NSW) are in place 24-hours-a-day. The horse movement ban in Victoria has been lifted & movement of horses from Victoria into South Australia will now operate on a permit system (application required to both state Departments Of Primary Industries). The movement of horses into Victoria from NSW and/or Queensland remains prohibited." (Sep 19)


18th September 2007
10,000 Flu Shots For NSW Buffer Zones
NSW Minister For Primary Industries Ian Macdonald announced "10,000 shots of horse flu vaccine will be imported for use in new special equine influenza buffer zones" across the state. Macdonald noted: "The vaccine represents the next phase in the campaign to eradicate the exotic horse flu, which has now infected more than 1,000 properties in NSW. Vaccine will be imported once the Federal Government's office of the Gene Technology Regulator signs off on this initiative. There is national agreement that we must use the vaccine strategically & with precision to stay one step ahead of the disease with the ultimate aim of eradication. I want to make it absolutely clear from the start that the vaccine will not be made available to every horse owner in NSW: it just won't work that way. Exhaustive tracing, surveillance & mapping efforts mean we now have a good handle on where the disease is. This knowledge makes vaccine use in buffer zones the best option to contain & eradicate. Using vaccine earlier in the campaign, without the information we have now, would have been flying blind." Macdonald added about 5,000 horse will be vaccinated twice at an interval of 14 days. (Sep 18)

Queensland Racing Supports Vaccination
Meanwhile Queensland Racing chairman Bob Bentley also declared his support for vaccination, noting: "Notwithstanding plans to introduce a buffer system around quarantined precincts, vaccination is the only way to deal with the current crisis. While there are a number of arguments in favour & also against equine influenza vaccination, the time has come to take positive action." And Bentley confirmed: "To progress its position, Queensland Racing on Monday advocated its position clearly to the Department Of Primary Industries & Fisheries and the Australian Racing Board." (Sep 18)

Yarraman Park Positive To Equine Influenza
Prominent NSW stud Yarraman Park confirmed that, after "several mares started showing clinical symptoms of equine influenza", the Depart Of Primary Industries "declared the farm positive to equine influenza". Yarraman's Arthur Mitchell noted: "This equine influenza strain is relatively mild, with mares & foals at other nearby farms all recovering well from the infection within a few days." Mitchell added: "We hope the virus runs its course quickly over the next 10 days or so & we can get back to business. It's spreading rapidly through the horses, including the stallions Foreplay & Magic Albert, who have both had it but displayed light symptoms that have interfered very little with their covering of mares". Mitchell also noted: "If you're going to have sick horses, this is the best time of year for it to happen: while the weather is still cool & there is plenty of grass. So we are optimistic that, if the travel ban is lifted this week, then the breeding season will be able to go ahead." (Sep 18)

Horse Flu Remains Within Containment Lines
NSW Depatment Of Primary Industries deputy chief veterinary officer Ian Roth reported "new cases of equine influenza in NSW remain within established containment lines of the Restricted Areas. There have been no surprise cases. We know where the disease is & the standstill is preventing its spread into new areas. We must remember this is a highly contagious disease that can be passed on or transferred very, very easily. Areas where infected properties exist include the Hunter, Hawkesbury, Hornsby & Wollondilly local government areas, Narrabri & Tamworth in north western NSW, Cooyal near Mudgee & Dubbo & Parkes in the Central West." Latest figures from tracing & surveillance teams show there are 1,063 properties infected with equine influenza in NSW. About 9,700 horses have tested positive to horse flu & 4,762 have tested negative. Roth also noted there are "about 620 suspect properties in NSW being monitored" & it is expected the number of infected properties "will continue to steadily increase". He summed up: "The message to horse owners & the wider community is that to the standstill is working: new infections are located close to known infected properties." (Sep 18)

Full Sydney Racing May Not Resume Until Easter
Racing NSW chief steward Ray Murrihy told The Sydney Morning Herald: "Racing as we know it will not resume properly until Easter". Amid reports equine influenza has reached horses at Scone racecourse, Murrihy noted pre-training farms may not be able to supply fresh horses to make up race fields depleted of Randwick horses while they spell. And spelling & pre-training farms around Hawkesbury are also reported with horse flu. (Sep 18)

STC Expects 7,000 Crowd At Rosehill On Saturday
However NSW Minister For Primary Industries Ian Macdonald announcede the good news is that the public will be allowed trackside at Rosehill this weekend for the 1st time since the bans on horse movement were put in place almost a month ago. Macdonald noted: "Rosehill management is expecting about 7,000 people to attend. Of course strict biosecurity measures will be in place, but it will be good to see people back trackside in NSW for the 1st time." And the STC reported a massive 325 nominations have been received for Saturday's meeting (restricted to Rosehill & Warwick Farm-trained horses). In addition, 92 horses have been nominated in 7 races set for an in-house meeting at Canberra on Friday. (Sep 18)


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