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Public urged to stay away from horses

“Rogue” equine flu “highly contagious”

Image courtesy of Hertfordshire Countryside Management Service
Image courtesy of Hertfordshire Countryside Management Service

Hertfordshire’s Countryside Management Service is urging the public not to approach horses during the current outbreak of equine influenza. The latest fear is that even vaccinated horses are now contracting the disease. All horses could be at risk, particularly the weak, elderly, and young.

The advice from the CMS is not to approach horses or pet them. Apparently the virus can live on clothing and could be passed on by dogs.
“If you are out walking, running or cycling and pass any fields with horses in, please do not approach them. This strain of the virus is described as ‘rogue’, it is highly contagious and is airborne. It can live on people’s clothing, equipment and possibly dogs, for days. Equine flu is like human flu in as much as it can kill the young, the elderly and the weak. Therefore please help us to contain the outbreak by staying away from horses.”
Equine influenza is not a government-recognised ‘notifiable disease in animals’, therefore no public rights of way can be closed because of this.

Signs can be displayed by landowners to make the public aware, however any additional wording must not be intimidating or off putting to users of the public right of way.

The CMS has shared this link for those wanting to know more about the dangers of equine influenza.

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