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African Horse Sickness in South Africa

South Africa is one of few countries routinely vaccinating horses for AHS, and yet they still have cases of disease and have quarantine restrictions on export and import of equines. We are collaborating with researchers at the Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute to investigate the epidemiology of the disease. Analysis of an extensive serosurvey of donkeys across the country has supported the long-standing hypothesis that the virus only persists in the northeast part of the country and periodically is introduced to other areas.

Data on AHS in zebra in the Kruger National Park indicates that infection rates are extremely high, and this population can provide a source for repeated introductions of the virus elsewhere in the country. Ongoing work with these data will quantify this, and identify areas with continual transmission, seasonal transmission, periodic transmission and little to no transmission. Ultimately, we hope to then use this information to develop control strategies and zoning which may allow easing of quarantine restrictions.

Contact: C. Lord