Influenza Outbreak Not The Same As 2007 Australia Issue BHA States

The BHA have worked tirelessly since the get go on this nightmare for the racing industry with the outbreak of equine influenza taking over the sport for the coming weeks.

How quickly and efficiently the governing body have moved to try and contain this virus could be pivotal in stopping and speeding up the process that gets racing back on to the track of Britain.

The way this has been handled looks to have stopped a similar issue that took place in Australia in 2007 which saw racing stopped because of an epidemic that lasted close to four months and saw and cost the industry an extreme amount of money.

There are similar fears from the racing world that this on going disease in Britain could see a very similar length of time for the sport to be on the sidelines.

However, The BHA have said: The situation here is not the same as the incident in Australia in 2007. Australian thoroughbreds are not vaccinated against influenza, while British thoroughbreds are, as the virus is endemic in the UK."

Thursday saw four meetings in Britain lost to equine flu for the first time since 1981 when it was made compulsory for all race horses to be vaccinated against the virus.

Between this period there has been serious outbreaks of the flu but never enough to officially harm racing to this degree.

Back in 2003 racing did continue but there was a serious case of equine influenza that saw up to 1,300 vaccinated horses be contained due to the virus with all of the animals coming from racing stables in Newmarket.

The 1970's also was not a good time for British racing as again in the Newmarket area it was hit with an outbreak in January 1976.


Three years later there was another outbreak that was not contained as quick which the Jockey Club take strong action on the sport and introduced that all race horses were mandatory to have an influenza vaccination in 1981.

Outside of the United Kingdom, the sport has also similar cases to what is happening at the moment with the already mentioned epidemic in Australia there also was a big issue in 1987.

India saw a huge outbreak that year with more than 27,000 horses affected in total and since then there has also been cases of the virus seen in Australia, South Africa, South America and Japan that affected racing.

Hong Kong was another racing country affected back in 1992 where the virus affected 32 days without racing, however this was due to a problem with imported horses and overall seven race meetings were lost during this period.

Europe as a continent hasn't been equine influenza free aswell with up to 11 cases reported in our most recent December and January seeing countries like Belgium, Ireland and France all being effected, with the Irish problem seeing two horses involved and one of them was Vaccinated.

In the UK it has been confirmed by the charity Animal Health Trust that between 2014 to 2017 there was up to 40 cases of the outbreak.

Nearly all of these situations were with unvaccinated horses and not exclusively found in racehorses, this also happened in France and Ireland.

The charity also confirmed that numerous outbreaks in America, across 22 States, in 2017 and increased reports in Chile, Argentina and Uruguay.