Update regarding the Equine Herpesvirus Outbreak in Europe 02nd March 2021
Equine Herpesvirus - Cancellation of all Events in mainland Europe due to EHV-1
The FEI decided to cancel all international events in 10 countries on the European mainland with immediate effect until the end of March. The virus is rapidly evolving to a very aggressive form of the neurological form of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1), which originated in Valencia (Spain) and has spread to three other european countries.
The FEIs decision regards all disciplin, but to make sure not all horses departing at the same time from jumping Tours in Belgium, Italy and on the Iberian Peninsula these shows will continue under high safety precautions. These individual "bubbles" are on the condition that absolutely no new horses can enter the venues and no positive cases of EHV-1 are confirmed.
While these "bubbles" are continuing, other tours such as Vejer de la Frontera (ESP), Vilamoura (POR), San Giovanni in Marignano and Gorla Minore (both Italy) have tight biosecurity protocols in place and additional FEI Vet Delegates onsite. A horse can only leave the venue with a valid health certificate from local Veterinary Authorities. In case these documents cannot be show at departure, the horse will be blocked in the FEI Database. Furthermore, it is illegal to transport horses without the full documentation.
The other very popular jumping tour in Oliva Nova already advised the FEI that they decided to cancel the rest of the tour in MET III. Sentower Park (Belgium) also informed the FEI that all their March Events are cancelled.
Furthermore, countries like France, Belgium and Germany have already cancelled all their events to minimise the spread of EHV-1.
The FEIs decision covers events in France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Italy, Austria, Poland, Netherlands, Germany and Slovakia alligns with the FEI General Regulations Article 112.3, which states: The Secretary General shall have the authority to remove any Competition and/or Event from the Calendar if justified circumstances relating to a Competition or the Event are established.
Read the following statement of FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibanez below:
“This was not an easy decision to block events in mainland Europe, particularly after the major disruption to the FEI Calendar caused by the Covid-19 pandemic”, FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez said, “but this EHV-1 outbreak is probably the most serious we have had in Europe for many decades and our decision is based on clearly identified epidemiological risk factors.
“This strain of EHV-1 is particularly aggressive and has already caused equine fatalities and a very large number of severe clinical cases. We need to keep our horses safe.
“We are also aware that a large number of horses left the venue in Valencia without an official health certificate, meaning they had an unknown health status. Some horses were already sick, and the risk of transmission from these horses is a major concern.
“Cancelling these competitions in mainland Europe, with the exception of the ongoing Jumping Tours in the Iberian Peninsula and Italy, limits the number of horses travelling internationally and therefore reduces the likelihood of this very serious virus being transmitted on an increasingly wider scale. We also strongly recommend that the affected member Federations should also cancel their national events.
“We are very conscious of the fact that this is a very stressful and distressing time, and that this is potentially hugely disruptive for those athletes aiming for their Minimum Eligibility Requirements (MERs) or confirmation results for Tokyo, but we are looking at ways to alleviate that in order to assist athlete/horse combinations in getting their MERs or confirmation results once the events in mainland Europe are allowed to resume.”
It is known that some athlets already arrived on competition venues or have left to venues but the FEI and national Federation are directly contacting all impacted athletes entered in Events between now and 28th March 2021.
Note of the Editor:
Check the FEI Veterinary Department for older news and Updates regarding the EHV-1 Outbreak.
In case you are worried about horse's health and there is a possibility it could be an EHV-1 infection, consult a veterinarian and seperate the horse immediately.
For more information, read the first blog post about the Equine Herpes Virus. You can find it here.