Exotic disease threats in the horse



There is a real chance of exotic infectious disease reaching the UK, posing a threat to our equine population. The movement of horses and their biological products, and the movement of vectors have the potential to introduce exotic disease. The occurrence of such diseases could have a devastating impact on equine health and welfare, on human health in the case of zoonoses, on the trade of horses, and also on the reputation of the equine industry. Statutory health inspections and serological testing protects the UK from the incursion of exotic infectious disease from outside the European Union (EU). However, there have been several outbreaks of exotic disease inside the EU, and far fewer biosecurity measures are in place to protect the UK from intra-EU exotic diseases. History shows that passive surveillance by practicing clinicians may play a pivotal role in the early detection of disease and so it is essential that we stay well informed about national and international infectious disease outbreaks and trends in equine movement.