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Journal of the South African Veterinary Association

On-line version ISSN 2224-9435
Print version ISSN 1019-9128


GREWAR, John D. et al. The 2011 outbreak of African horse sickness in the African horse sickness controlled area in South Africa. J. S. Afr. Vet. Assoc. [online]. 2013, vol.84, n.1, pp.1-7. ISSN 2224-9435.

African horse sickness (AHS) is a controlled animal disease in South Africa, and as a result of the high mortality rates experienced, outbreaks in the AHS controlled area in the Western Cape Province have a significant impact on affected properties as well as on the exportation of live horses from the AHS free zone in metropolitan Cape Town. An outbreak of AHS serotype 1 occurred in the surveillance zone of the AHS controlled area of the Western Cape during the summer of 2011. The epicentre of the outbreak was the town of Mamre in the magisterial district of Malmesbury and the outbreak was confined to a defined containment zone within this area by movement control of all equids and a blanket vaccination campaign. A total of 73 cases of AHS were confirmed during this outbreak, which included four confirmed subclinical cases. The morbidity rate for the outbreak was 16% with a mortality rate of 14% and a case fatality rate of 88%. Outbreak disease surveillance relied on agent identification using polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based assays, which is novel for an AHS outbreak in South Africa. The source of this outbreak was never confirmed although it is believed to be associated with the illegal movement of an infected animal into the Mamre area. This detailed description of the outbreak provides a sound scientific basis to assist decision making in future AHS outbreaks in the AHS controlled area of South Africa and in countries where AHS is an exotic or emerging disease.

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