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New Zealand declares freedom from Equine Viral Arteritis 

Eradicating a disease is no easy feat but the New Zealand equine community has completed a task that is rarely achieved.

After introduction of the equine viral arteritis virus in horses imported from North America in 1988 many were uncertain as to what the future might hold in terms of how the disease might move through the New Zealand horse population. The virus was causing variable levels of disease in horse populations around the world from little illness to more severe respiratory disease and abortions.  In the absence of any certainty of what would happen in New Zealand the Equine Industry and MAF worked to manage the spread of disease in New Zealand.

The disease is primarily spread by infected stallions at breeding. A survey of all breeding stallions was completed by 1990 and controls were placed on the use of those stallions found to be infected.

Thirty five years after the introduction of the virus and numerous hurdles later, New Zealand is about to declare to the international equine community that the virus has been eradicated from our shores! The declaration of freedom from disease is expected be published by the international organisation for animal health – the OIE-  in the next month.

In recognition of the efforts of the many who have kept the goal of equine disease control in their field of vision the New Zealand Equine Health Association and Ministry for Primary Industries are joining together to celebrate the achievement.  Watch this site for more news!

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