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How to Spot Equine Infectious Anaemia

17 November 2014

UK - Equine infectious anaemia - also known as swamp fever - is a notifiable disease, meaning if you suspect it, it must be reported. But what are the symptoms to look out for?

Equine infectious anaemia only affects horses, with humans remaining unaffected.

The last outbreak in Great Britain was in 2012. This epidemiology report provides a summary of the investigations undertaken by APHA to control the two incidents of equine infectious anaemia in 2012.

How to spot equine infectious anaemia

Some infected animals don’t show signs of equine infectious anaemia, or signs are overlooked because they don’t last for long.

Clinical signs can include:

  • recurring fever
  • tiredness, weakness and depression
  • loss of appetite and weight loss

How equine infectious anaemia is spread

Equine infectious anaemia is transmitted by large horseflies. The flies are only active from May to September, with a peak in July and August.

The horseflies only travel short distances to feed, but the disease can be carried over long distances by infected horses or contaminated blood products.

The disease can also be spread through medical equipment such as needles or in the semen of infected animals.

Preventing and controlling equine infectious anaemia

You can help prevent equine infectious anaemia by practising good biosecurity on your premises.

If you report suspicion of equine infectious anaemia, APHA vets will investigate.

If the disease is confirmed the outbreak will be controlled in line with the contingency plan for exotic notifiable diseases.

Equine infectious anaemia is a notifiable disease. That means if you suspect it you must tell your nearest Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) office immediately. Failure to do so is an offence.

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