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Keywords:

  • emergency animal disease;
  • equine influenza;
  • laboratory testing;
  • polymerase chain reaction;
  • vaccination

A real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) test for the matrix gene of type A influenza viruses was used during the 2007 Australian equine influenza (EI) outbreak in order to confirm diagnosis and, later, eradication of the virus. During the EI outbreak, horses being exported required vaccination and individual proof of freedom from EI. At the end of the outbreak, positive results were obtained from four horses destined for export, because of contamination of the samples with the vaccine. This report highlights the need for EI testing and vaccination to occur on separate days and with the collection of swabs for testing to precede vaccination.