Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

186 Dead Horses From a "Cruel" & "Devastating" Virus


BANGKOK, Thailand -- For the first time in Thailand, a rapidly
spreading "cruel" and "devastating" virus has killed least 186 horses
by attacking the animals' lungs, causing fever and death within hours.

Thailand's security forces on April 16 guarded checkpoints on highways
to stop horses being transported across the country, and quarantine
animals infected with the African Horse Sickness (AHS) virus.

"Effective immediately, and until further notice, the U.S. Department
of Agriculture's Animals and Plant Health Inspection Service's
Veterinary Services is placing restrictions on the importation of
equine from Thailand, based on the diagnosis of African Horse Sickness
in multiple equine species of different ages and sexes," the U.S.
department announced on March 31.

A 60-day quarantine was required. The New York Animal Import Center,
located in Rock Tavern, New York, is the only quarantine location
accepting horses from AHS countries.

"Any semen or embryos from countries affected with African Horse
Sickness is prohibited," the department said on its website.

Thailand's health officials established a disease control center with
deployment teams to test suffering horses, and spray insecticide in
barns and stables.

A hotline was created so people could inform authorities about any
illegal transportation of horses.

International veterinarians usually take a blood sample from a live
horse, or a spleen specimen at post-mortem, to confirm AHS.

Most of the 186 horses died at the epicenter where the AHS virus
killed 162 horses in northeast Thailand's Nakhon Ratchasima province,
also known as Korat.

The first death was reported during March in that province's Pak Chong
district, said Department of Livestock Development director-general
Sorawit Thanito.

An additional 13 deaths occurred in Prachuap Khiri Khan province 50
miles south of Bangkok on the Gulf of Thailand, plus five in Chon
Buri, three in Ratchaburi, two in Phetchaburi and one in Chaiyaphum
provinces, the government-owned Thai News Agency reported on April 6.

"This disease has just occurred in Thailand. We've never had it in the
past," Mr. Sorawit said.

"We have to investigate how this virus got to Thailand," he said,
Reuters reported.

Thailand was deleted from the "AHS-Free Country" list by the
Paris-based World Organization for Animal Health on March 27 after Mr.
Sorawit reported the first 42 deaths.

"Unofficial sources report these to be race horses," said the
International Disease Monitoring unit of Britain's Department for
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on March 31.

Thailand now faces difficulties exporting horses and other equines to
the European Union and elsewhere -- including for competition in horse
races, shows and other events.

No horses from Thailand legally traveled to the United Kingdom after
December 2019, the monitors said.

The disease can attack horses, donkeys, mules and zebras, plus camels
and dogs, according to the England-based Pirbright Institute which
develops "novel vaccines for viral diseases of livestock, and is
actively working on a promising vaccine candidate for AHS."

There is no known cure or reliable vaccine. Non-steroidal
anti-inflammatory drugs can alleviate pain or reduce fever.

"It can be spread through the blood, and infects namely the lungs,
spleen and other lymphoid tissues," the institute said.

Symptoms can include fever, a loss of appetite, and swelling around
horses' eyes, lips, cheeks, tongue and neck.

The virus is infectious but not contagious from horse to horse.

It requires transmission by tiny, two-winged flies which resemble gnats.

"AHS is spread by biting midges -- Culicoides -- and dogs can become
infected by eating contaminated horse meat," the Pirbright Institute
said.

Culicoides can also give horses severe, non-fatal skin diseases.

In the past, most of the world's AHS cases appeared in sub-Saharan
Africa but also in the Middle East, Pakistan, India and Morocco, Spain
and Portugal.

Madrid and Lisbon contained its 1980s outbreaks after severe losses
and elsewhere the disease has also been controlled.

"For several centuries, the devastating African Horse Sickness has
been a cruel scourge to horse owners," said the National Institutes of
Health (NIH) based in Bethesda, Maryland.

AHS has "a 70% mortality rate," it said. "The geographic distribution
of the midge vector broadens with global warming and climate change."

In the mid-1800s the virus killed almost 70,000 horses within 10 years
in South Africa.

The most deaths occurred during 1959-63 across the Middle East and
Southwest Asia, killing more than 300,000 horses, the NIH said.

That outbreak was halted thanks to experimental vaccines and the huge
toll of dead horses, which limited the number of surviving susceptible
animals.

***

Richard S. Ehrlich is a Bangkok-based journalist from San Francisco,
California, reporting news from Asia since 1978 and winner of Columbia
University's Foreign Correspondent's Award. He co-authored three
non-fiction books about Thailand including "'Hello My Big Big Honey!'
Love Letters to Bangkok Bar Girls and Their Revealing Interviews,"
"Chronicle of Thailand: Headline News Since 1946," and "60 Stories of
Royal Lineage." Mr. Ehrlich also contributed to the chapter
"Ceremonies and Regalia" in a book published in English and Thai
titled, "King Bhumibol Adulyadej, A Life's Work: Thailand's Monarchy
in Perspective." Mr. Ehrlich's "Sheila Carfenders, Doctor Mask &
President Akimbo" portrays a 22-year-old American female mental
patient who is abducted to Asia by her abusive San Francisco
psychiatrist. His newest nonfiction book is "Rituals, Killers, Wars. &
Sex. -- Tibet, India, Nepal, Laos, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka &
New York" available at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086Y7D48L

His online sites are:

https://asia-correspondent.tumblr.com

https://flickr.com/photos/animists/sets

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Binoy Kampmark: Budget Cockups In The Time Of Coronavirus: Reporting Errors And Australia’s JobKeeper Scheme

Hell has, in its raging fires, ringside seats for those who like their spreadsheets. The seating, already peopled by those from human resources, white collar criminals and accountants, becomes toastier for those who make errors with those spreadsheets. ... More>>


The Dig - COVID-19: Just Recovery

The COVID-19 crisis is compelling us to kick-start investment in a regenerative and zero-carbon future. We were bold enough to act quickly to stop the virus - can we now chart a course for a just recovery? More>>

The Conversation: Are New Zealand's New COVID-19 Laws And Powers Really A Step Towards A Police State?

Reaction to the New Zealand government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and resultant lockdown has ranged from high praise to criticism that its actions were illegal and its management chaotic. More>>


Keith Rankin: Universal Versus Targeted Assistance, A Muddled Dichotomy

The Commentariat There is a regular commentariat who appear on places such as 'The Panel' on Radio New Zealand (4pm on weekdays), and on panels on television shows such as Newshub Nation (TV3, weekends) and Q+A (TV1, Mondays). Generally, these panellists ... More>>

Jelena Gligorijevic: (Un)lawful Lockdown And Government Accountability

As the Government begins to ease the lockdown, serious questions remain about the lawfulness of these extraordinary measures. Parliament’s Epidemic Response Committee has indicated it will issue summonses for the production of legal advice about the ... More>>


Caitlin Johnstone: Do You Consent To The New Cold War?

The world's worst Putin puppet is escalating tensions with Russia even further, with the Trump administration looking at withdrawal from more nuclear treaties in the near future. In addition to planning on withdrawing from the Open Skies Treaty ... More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Why Thinking Makes It So: Donald Trump’s Obamagate Fixation

The “gate” suffix has been wearing thin since the break-in scandal that gave it its birth. Since Watergate, virtually anything dubious and suggestive, and much more besides, is suffixed. Which brings us to the issue of President Donald Trump’s ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Ethics (and Some Of The Economics) Of Lifting The Lockdown

As New Zealand passes the half-way mark towards moving out of Level Four lockdown, the trade-offs involved in life-after-lockdown are starting to come into view. All very well for National’s finance spokesperson Paul Goldsmith to claim that “The number one priority we have is to get out of the lockdown as soon as we can”…Yet as PM Jacinda Ardern pointed out a few days ago, any crude trade-off between public health and economic well-being would be a false choice... More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Brutal Choices: Anders Tegnell And Sweden’s Herd Immunity Goal

If the title of epidemiological czar were to be created, its first occupant would have to be Sweden’s Anders Tegnell. He has held sway in the face of sceptics and concern that his “herd immunity” approach to COVID-19 is a dangerous, and breathtakingly ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Trans-Tasman Bubble, And The Future Of Airlines

As the epidemiologists keep on saying, a trans-Tasman bubble will require having in place beforehand a robust form of contact tracing, of tourists and locals alike - aided by some kind of phone app along the lines of Singapore’s TraceTogether ... More>>

 
 
 
 
 


 
 
 
  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog