Horse flu resurfaces after two decades, Vaishno Devi horses hit

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Hisar, Aug 1 (UNI) Equine influenza or Horse Flu has re-emerged in India after a gap of 20 years, affecting hundreds of civilian horses,ponies and mulese specially those employed in Vaishno Devi pilgrimage, according to equine experts here.

A team of experts from the prestigious National Research Centre on Equines (NRCE) examined and collected serum samples and nasal swabs of the affected animals which confirmed that hundreds of civilian horses, ponies and mules serving the pilgrims for visiting the Vaishno Devi shrine were suffering from Equine Influenza.

The authorities have been advised to quarantine the animals suffering with the highly contagious viral disease, presently confined to Jammu's Katra region, said NRCE Director, Dr.

S.K.Dwivedi.

As many as 60 per cent of the ponies and mules in Katra, which has an equine population of about 18,000, were showing clinical signs of Equine Influenza, which had earlier struck the country in 1987 when around 83,000 animals suffered in central and north India, he said.

Horse Flu spreads very fast and the animal which contracts the disease has to be given adequate rest and symptomatic treatment for relief from the disease, otherwise secondary bacterial complications may occur.

The Centre had developed an indigenous vaccine for prevention and control of the disease, which can be prepared here on a limited scale on demand.

However, any government or non-government veterinary biological house could avail of this technology for widescale manufacture and commercial marketing of the vaccine, he said.

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