Role of personal decontamination in preventing the spread of equine influenza.

Abstract

BACKGROUND During the 2007 equine influenza (EI) outbreak, infected horses were quarantined at Morgan Park Recreational Grounds (MPRG) near Warwick, Queensland. Some individuals caring for horses were reported to have made return journeys between MPRG and home properties containing other horses during the time there was active infection at MPRG. OBJECTIVE A retrospective cohort study to assess the biosecurity and hygiene measures undertaken and their outcomes. METHODS All individuals recorded as being responsible for caring for one or more horses at MPRG, and who were also recorded on entry and exit logs at the gate to MPRG during the period of interest, and kept horses at their home property were contacted for a telephone questionnaire. RESULTS Of the 31 individuals identified, valid responses were obtained from 27 (87% response rate). Respondents had 2-25 horses at their home property, and 1-10 return trips were reported; 11 respondents reported contact with horses at home and provided information on biosecurity practices. CONCLUSION Although horses at some home properties became infected with EI, it appears unlikely that this was the result of spread from MPRG via horse handlers. Simple preventive measures based on personal decontamination and other biosecurity measures are considered likely to have prevented spread of infection from MPRG to other properties.

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