The African Horse Sickness vaccination season ends tomorrow.
Tomorrow (31 October 2017), the AHS vaccination season within the AHS controlled area in the Western Cape comes to an end.
Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, explained that the vaccination season is legislated by the National Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) to take place between 1 June and 31 October each year. Only registered AHS vaccines may be used during this time and it is illegal to use an unregistered vaccine.
“African horse sickness vaccinations are controlled in the AHS protection, surveillance and free zones of the Western Cape.”
Vaccination against AHS for horses in the AHS controlled area may only occur with written permission from State Vet Boland, and these permissions can only be granted for vaccinations that are planned within this time period.
AHS is spread by biting midges, and the vaccine used is a live virus vaccine.
The cause of previous outbreaks in the AHS controlled area has been identified as the spread of the vaccine virus between horses by midges. This is why the vaccination period takes place when the midges are least active in the area.
“The responsible vaccination against AHS decreases the risk of outbreaks in our region, which is to the benefit of our local horse population, and increases market access for our horses.
“As long as we do not have any further outbreaks of AHS in the controlled area, we will be eligible to apply for an audit by the European Union after June 2018, which is two years since the last outbreak. We are working to ensure there are no further outbreaks, either from use of vaccine outside the permitted times or from illegal movement of an infected horse into the area. I would like to thank horse owners, veterinarians and all owners in the equine industry for partnering with us to reach this goal.”
For media queries, kindly contact:
Spokesperson: Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities
Responsible for Tourism, Economic Development and Agriculture
Western Cape Government
142 Long Street, Cape Town