Officials On Alert For African Horse Sickness


Kay Ledbetter, Texas A&M

via Drovers - June 23, 2020


African horse sickness is not in the U.S., and it is important it stays that way.


Texas A&M AgriLife faculty, various state and federal agencies and the U.S. horse industry are already monitoring the situation, ensuring surveillance and determining practices to prevent the deadly horse disease from crossing our borders.


Horses would be at risk if African horse sickness makes it into the U.S.


African horse sickness comes out of Africa and is common from Morocco down to the middle of the continent. But it has escaped the African continent several times, most recently into Thailand, where it is believed to have been introduced by importation of infected zebras. African horse sickness is caused by a virus, more specifically an Orbivirus, which is transmitted by certain insects.


“Equines including horses, mules, donkeys and zebras are moved all over the world for competitions, trade, breeding, zoologic and conservation purposes,” said Pete Teel, Ph.D., Texas A&M AgriLife Research entomologist with the Texas A&M Department of Entomology, College Station.


“There is a real risk that this foreign animal disease could be introduced to the Western Hemisphere, including North America, where we have insects that will likely serve as effective vectors of this virus,” Teel said...