Union Health Ministry awaiting report from RWITC

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Pune, Nov 16 (UNI) The Union Health Ministry has asked the Royal Western India Turf club (RWITC) authorities to immediately submit a report on the outbreak of equine influenza across the Stud farms in Pune, that has led to postponement of the Mumbai Racing Season till January 15.

The horses are suffering from respiratory tract infection symptoms like fever and wheezing.

The government would face a revenue loss of a whopping Rs 100 crore due to the postponement. There are around 1200 horses, stationed at the Pune race course, who are ailing from the mysterious ailment that have left racing authorities bewildered.

Horses in Delhi and Kolkata are also down with the flu, leading to delay in rasing season at both the centres.

When contaced by UNI, Commissioner of Animal husbandry department D S Zagade said 125 serum samples and 27 nasal swabs of sick horses had been sent to the National Research Centre for Equines, Hisar, in Haryana for tests and the results would be known within the next few days.

However, he said the situation was not that alarming and his department was taking all necessary steps to prevent the spread of the disease. ''The laboratory results will clear the picture'', Mr Zagade added.

As a precautionary measure, the department has directed all the stud farms to meticulously monitor the health of animals and isolate any horse, if found ill, he said.

An official from the Diseases investigation section of the animal husbandry department told UNI that the department was following Central government guidelines and surveillance was on.

The horses, affected by flu, will take time to recover, and would not be able to participate in the races, as they need enough time to recover.

The Haryana research centre will isolate the virus from the samples, sent by the Husbandry department, following which it will confirm whether it is equine influenza or not.

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