Illegal vaccination may be behind African Horse Sickness fatality

2016-04-12 20:30
(Picture: Reinette van Niekerk)

(Picture: Reinette van Niekerk)

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Cape Town – A visit on Tuesday to a Paarl farm that had an African Horse Sickness casualty has left Western Cape Agriculture MEC, Alan Winde, satisfied that everything is in order.

“All of the [remaining 10] horses on the farm have been tested and are negative,” he told News24 of his visit with the state vet to Schoongezicht.

Another 70 horses in the area were also tested and cleared. “So far, so good. Everything seems to be fine,” Winde said.

The horse died from the disease last week. The sickness is transmitted by midges and usually involves a two-step vaccination process.

Winde said that if the vaccination was not done properly, it sometimes caused the virus to be transmitted. “It’s not proven as yet but it could very well be that this is as a result of an illegal vaccination.”

Vets testing

He said they would know for sure once vets had finished their testing. “Our vets are getting smarter with our systems and checking. And they can actually pick up the exact strain.”

Winde said it was clear the farmer was angry about losing a good bloodline and of the possibility of an illegal vaccination.

Winde said the industry was very responsible and tried to follow strict protocols. “The standard 14-day quarantine stands. And there is also an absolute ban of movement of horses in the Paarl region.”

African Horse Sickness has also infiltrated wild horses in Mpumalanga.

Around 200 wild horses roam free in the former mining town of Kaapschehoop.

Reinette van Niekerk, known as the local 'horse lady', told News24 on Monday that 11 horses had already died.

Horse collapsed

“Over Easter weekend, a horse collapsed in front of the pancake restaurant in town,” she said.

It had to be put down.

Undiscovered horse carcasses could be lying hidden in the forest plantations.

Local vet, Dr Donnie Engelbrecht, has thought about starting a vaccination drive for the tamest of the horses in town.

“It is just a suggestion but at least we could save some of the foals if we do them in August or September when the sickness is at its lowest,” he told News24.

He said there were potential economic benefits. "Many of the businesses rely on the horses."

Watch the wild horses of Mpumalanga being treated

Read more on:    cape town  |  animals

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