Exercise examines the threat of African Horse Sickness
AHS is a fatal disease that affects horses, mules, donkeys and zebras. It is a viral disease that is spread by certain types of insects (Culicoid midges) that are also the carriers for Bluetongue.
The outbreaks of Bluetongue in Northern Europe over the last few years and changes in climatic conditions mean that the disease is being given increasing priority by the Welsh Assembly Government and its operational partners. Whilst the risk is considered to be very low, the consequences could be severe for the horse industry if there was an outbreak in the UK.
Consequently, the Welsh Government and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) have developed new legislation and a Disease Control Strategy, and these were considered during the exercise.
The exercise considered movement restrictions, vaccination, vector control measures and culling. Participants also practiced the procedures and processes that would be used should there be a suspected or confirmed case of AHS in Wales.
An AHS Information Day was held in November where delegates discussed the disease, its control measures and communications. All participants found both events to be very informative and gave policy makers food for thought.