In a bid to protect the province’s multi-million rand horse export industry, vets in the Western Cape have moved swiftly to contain the spread of African Horse Sickness.
Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, yesterday (12 April 2016) visited Schoongezicht, the Paarl farm where a horse died after being infected by AHS last week.
The owner of the farm, Lodewikus Hanekom, has nine horses left, of which most are Arab. He uses two for endurance riding competitions. None of the other animals have tested positive for AHS.
“Following the confirmation of AHS, vets immediately launched a testing campaign. We have already tested 70 horses in this surrounding area and we will continue to test until we are sure there are no other infected horses in the area. At this stage, we are in the clear.
“Movement restrictions will remain in place for at least 40 days after the last detected case. If more cases are detected, the movement restriction period will be extended. We are aware that there is an impact on the industry and that shows have had to be cancelled. These are the measures we have to take to protect our horse export industry, which is worth R250 million per year.”
Minister Winde appealed to horse owners to take the necessary precautions to safe-guard their horses.
“AHS is spread by biting midges and we urge horse owners to stable their horses from two hours before sunset to two hours after dawn to minimise the risk of the vector of the disease having contact with their horses. In addition, we appeal to owners to use a registered insect repellent during the vector feeding periods. Currently, vaccination against African horse sickness is not permitted within the AHS surveillance zone without special permission from a state veterinarian,” said Minister Winde.
The containment zone for this incident is as follows:
- The eastern border of the zone follows the border of the AHS surveillance zone from Gordon’s Bay along the Limietberg mountain range to the Voëlvlei dam. The boundary of the containment zone then extends westwards past the southern end of the Voëlvlei dam to the R46, which it follows through Hermon, Riebeeck Kasteel and to Malmesbury;
- The western border of the zone follows the N7 until it intersects with the N2;
- The N2 serves as the southern border of the containment zone until it reaches the eastern border at Gordon’s Bay;
- Roads that make up the borders of the zone are not included in the movement restrictions and transport of horses along these roads is permitted.
Any owner within the AHS surveillance zone detecting illness in horses, which includes unexplained fever, swelling of the head and neck and difficulty breathing should report the case to the local state vet. Visit www.elsenburg.com for the contact details of the relevant state vet. Permit applications can be lodged with Dr Camilla Weyer at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please visit http://www.elsenburg.com/vetepi/ to access an interactive Google map of the borders of the containment zone.
Minister Winde, Lodewikus Hanekom, Dr. Gary Buhrmann, Chief State Veterinarian: Boland, Western Cape Department of Agriculture
For media queries, kindly contact:
Spokesperson: Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities
Responsible for Tourism, Economic Development and Agriculture
Western Cape Government