Thailand will be officially free of African Horse Sickness this year: govt
Thailand has asked the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) to endorse its status of being free from the African Horse Sickness (AHS) so that the kingdom can resume international equestrian events, a government spokeswoman said on Wednesday.
The government submitted a request to the organisation on January 30 to endorse Thailand as being free of the disease and believes the organisation will agree to the request this year, deputy spokeswoman Ratchada Dhnadirek said.
AHS is an infectious disease affecting all species of horses (including mules, donkeys, and zebras). It attacks the respiratory and circulatory systems, and has a high mortality rate. AHS serotype one was first reported in Thailand in March 2020. It was the first time the disease was found in Asia.
After the outbreak was detected on March 27, 2020, 610 horses in 17 provinces became sick from the disease and 568 of them died, Ratchada said.
The Department of Livestock Development and partner agencies have been working diligently to control and eliminate the disease, she said.
The disease has not been detected in Thailand for more than two years.
The Department of Livestock Development, the Royal Thai Army’s Animal Department, the Zoological Park Organisation of Thailand, and the Thailand Equestrian Federation have prepared all the necessary documents for the Thai government to show the WOAH that Thailand is free of the disease, Ratchada said.
WOAH’s scientific committee will need some time to review the documents before it officially declares Thailand free of the disease, she said.
After Thailand regains its AHS-free status, it will be eligible to host international equestrian competitions, import and export horses, and allow them to be freely transported throughout the country.