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AUSTRALIAN EI OUTBREAK: Event Timeline

The NZTBA is tracking key events in Australia and New Zealand as the Australian outbreak of equine influenza unfolds:

Thursday 6 September 2007
There are currently 186 infected properties, 353 dangerous contact properties, and 160 suspect properties.

Wednesday 5 September 2007
There are currently still 146 declared infected properties however that number is expected to rise again tomorrow with more properties currently to be confirmed. There are 356 properties with 2685 horses identified as dangerous contacts. A further 174 properties with 1522 horses are suspect, although not all suspect horses will come down with the virus.

Three new Restricted Areas have been declared: Caroona, Wauchope and Cooyal (via Mudgee). Ongoing support for registration of owners of horses in Restricted Areas is of enormous importance in developing comprehensive information to help release areas from quarantine in the future and to pinpoint suspect properties as soon as possible.

A policy to allow horses caught up by the standstill in other states to return to NSW has been approved and is operating.

Tuesday 4 September 2007
There are currently 146 infected properties on which there are 1311 horses. This includes 700 horses at Randwick. There are 268 properties with 2168 horses identified as dangerous contacts. A further 132 properties with 1142 horses are suspect, although not all suspect horses will come down with the virus.

A suspected case at Bathurst was found to be negative for equine influenza.

Current predictions are for some 300 properties to eventually become infected and this is still within the expected course of the outbreak.

More than 1500 horse owners have registered through the website or by fax. Thermometers have been sent to 283 owners, while 92 have reported sick horses through this reporting facility. Ongoing industry support for self-registration and for self-monitoring of horses is of enormous importance in pinpointing suspect properties as soon as possible. It will also be important for developing comprehensive information to support the possible future release of areas from quarantine.

'Closed racing' will commence at Warwick Farm on Saturday 8 September and Newcastle on Wednesday 12 September. This will provide much-needed economic relief for a major section of the NSW racing industry.

Tuesday 4 September 2007
There are currently 1019 horse infected with equine influenza on 127 properties. This figure includes approximately 700 horses at Randwick.

About 3570 horses are considered suspect at a total of 402 suspect properties although not all suspect horses will come down with the virus.

Four new restricted areas were declared – Narrabri (LGA) , Wollondilly (LGA), Gulargambone and Baradine.

3 September 2007
There are currently 128 infected premises, 238 dangerous contact premises and 129 suspect premises. Together, these properties contain 3810 horses. A further 2263 horses from 336 properties have been identified through tracing activities and are yet to be fully assessed.

An Order cancelling all public horse sales, horse shows and other horse events within NSW was today extended until 10 September 2007. This date may change again in the future.

Monday 3 September 2007
There are currently 115 infected premises, 206 dangerous contact premises and 121 suspect premises. Together, these properties contain 3707 horses. A further 2200 horses from 326 properties have been identified through tracing activities and are yet to be fully assessed.

The control program is on target for eradication of the disease, but success depends on the continuing cooperation of horse owners in obeying movement restrictions and following good hygiene practice when moving between properties where horses are kept


Sunday 2 September
Australian Prime Minister John Howard announces that retired High Court Judge Ian Callinan will conduct an independent inquiry into the EI crisis. Mr Callinan will investigate the source of the outbreak and whether a lapse at Sydney's Eastern Creek quarantine facility was responsible for introducing EI into Australia.

EI continues to spread in Queensland, and is now confirmed on 17 properties in the state.

Saturday 1 September
Thoroughbred race-meetings are held in Australia at Caulfield (Victoria), Morphettville (South Australia), Belmont Park (Western Australia) and Hobart (Tasmania).

Friday 31 August
Racing is set to resume in Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia & Tasmania tomorrow, with a major, eleven-race meeting at Caulfield, including two feature races transferred from Moonee Valley's abandoned card last weekend.

From 1 September Victorian meetings will be subject to extensive protocols and procedures established by Racing Victoria.

Thursday 30 August
Eight thoroughbreds at a Randwick stable test positive to EI. An automatic 50-day period quarantine order is placed on the Randwick race tracks, stabling and horse movement areas. The quarantine order is effective from the last diagnosed case of EI, and so could be for a period of longer than 50 days. Best estimates are that it will apply for 60 to 90 days.

The Australian Jockey Club decides not to proceed with the 2007 Sydney Spring Racing Carnival. All Randwick race-meetings from 1 September to 31 October are therefore cancelled, including the George Main Stakes Day on 29 September, and Arrowfield Stud Super Saturday on 6 October and City Tattersall's Cup Day on 20 October.

Racing NSW cancels next week's thoroughbred race-meetings in New South Wales, and nominations will not be taken for any NSW race-meeting until further notice.

Wednesday 29 August
A thoroughbred racehorse in the Randwick stable of Anthony Cummings returns a positive test to EI. Randwick Racecourse is shut down completely, with all horses confined to stables.

Seventy-three properties in NSW are now affected by the virus, with 90 EI positives spread over 19 sites.

Testing by the Australian Animal Health Laboratory confirms that Sydney horses were infected with the same H3N8 strain of EI discovered in Japan earlier this month.

New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing, in consultation with MAF New Zealand and Australian authorities, announces strict procedures that will apply to all jockeys, stable employers and employees and trackwork riders coming from Australia to New Zealand.

Tuesday 28 August
Trackwork at Queensland racecourses resumes at midday but only for horses stabled on designated courses. Databases will keep track of the movement of all horses and staff, and a ban on the use of horse floats remains in force.
Trackwork also resumes at Victorian racecourses.

Monday 27 August
A five-day National Horse Standstill is declared, effective until 1.00 pm Friday 31 August, with an indefinite order remaining in place for New South Wales and Queensland. Racing in other states is set to resume on Saturday 1 September.

NSW Primary Industries Minister Ian Macdonald says more than 400 horses on 53 properties now show symptoms of the virus, with 51 horses confirmed as carrying the disease.

Randwick Racecourse is locked down as a precaution after four horses trained by Gai Waterhouse and Bart Cummings are found to have elevated temperatures. They test negative to the virus.

An equestrian competition horse in Queensland tests positive for EI. The horse competed at the FEI World Cup eventing qualifier at Morgan Park, Warwick, south-west of Brisbane. It was allowed to leave Morgan Park before it was locked down, and is now quarantined at Minden, west of Brisbane, with two others. Between 12 and 20 of the 300 horses in lockdown at Morgan Park exhibit EI symptoms.

Leading Australian betting agencies, including TAB Sportsbet and Betstar, suspend betting indefinitely on the 2007 Caulfield and Melbourne Cups.

The Australian Racing Board accepts a proposal by Thoroughbred Breeders Australia to bring the Australian breeding season forward from 1 September to 27 August, to help relieve an anticipated congestion of mares' coverings when restrictions on the movement of horses are eventually lifted.

Sunday 26 August
New suspected cases of EI in sport horses are reported from around New South Wales and Queensland.

In Japan Delta Blues and Pop Rock, first and second in last year's Melbourne Cup, are unable to enter quarantine and are withdrawn from the Melbourne Spring Carnival.

Saturday 25 August
Test results confirm that eleven horses at Centennial Park and five horses quarantined at Eastern Creek have been infected with EI. Another six horses, that have travelled from Centennial Park to other parts of NSW, show signs of the virus.
The exclusion zones around all areas of infection are expanded from five to ten kilometres.

Australian Federal Agriculture Minister Peter McGauran announces an immediate 72-hour Australia-wide Horse Standstill Order. Harness and thoroughbred racing across Australia is cancelled.

Permits are required for NSW trainers to take horses to Randwick, Warwick Farm and Rosehill for trackwork, while Victorian trainers are required to complete questionnaires detailing where horses have been in the past few days.

New Zealand's Ministry of Agriculture & Forestry (MAF) Biosecurity halts all imports of horses from Australia, and begins identifying all horses that have arrived in the country since the beginning of August.

Friday 24 August
NSW Primary Industries Minister Ian Macdonald
announces that the Centennial Park stables, Sydney, have been quarantined. Samples taken from eleven horses, which are not racehorses, are sent for testing. The stables, which are near Randwick Racecourse, house more than 150 privately-owned mixed breeds used for equestrian and recreational purposes.

Thursday 23 August
Australia's Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Peter McGauran
announces that one recently imported horse currently held in quarantine at Eastern Creek shows clinical signs consistent with the contagious equine influenza virus. This is the first time the EI virus has been detected in Australia.

The Minister rules that 52 horses at the Eastern Creek facility will remain in quarantine for a period of 30 days from August 23 to ensure all are free of EI.

A further 27 horses, including two New Zealand-bound sires, Jungle Pocket and Zenno Rob Roy, are at the Spotswood quarantine facility in Victoria. They will also stay in quarantine for the same 30-day period because some had travelled to Australia with those at Eastern Creek.

Wednesday 22 August
The release of fifty-two horses from the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) station at Eastern creek, near Sydney is delayed for at least a week after three horses – two from Ireland, one from the USA – are treated for elevated temperatures. At this stage there is no evidence these three horses have contracted EI.

The detained horses include a large group of shuttle thoroughbred stallions, among them nine for Coolmore, 17 for Darley and one returning from Japan to Arrowfield Stud. Four stallions heading to New Zealand are also in this group: Ifraaj, Ekraar, Storming Home andStravinsky.

Friday 17 August
The Japan Racing Association cancels all scheduled race-meetings for the weekend of 18 & 19 August.

Wednesday 15 August
Horses stabled at Ritto, Shiga Prefecture, and Miho, Ibaraki Prefecture, in Japan are suspected of having contracted equine influenza. TheJapan Racing Association (JRA) imposes a nationwide ban on the movement of racehorses.

Thanks to many online news & information sources, including:
Thoroughbred News
MAF Biosecurity New Zealand
Racing & Sports

Australian Jockey Club
Japan Association for International Horse Racing
Racenet
Racing NSW
Racing Victoria



- NZTBA