Over the next few days and weeks, over 1,500 horses will be travelling up through Europe from Spain, Portugal and Italy.
Given the long distances, horses will need to rest. It is vital that the stopover/transit stabling for horses have the proper biosecurity requirements in place to minimise the risk of further transmission of EHV-1.
The French Federation has been very responsive in arranging specific stabling in France for horses travelling through the country where they can be stabled under the necessary biosecurity conditions with disinfection procedures and onsite veterinary support.
The stables are:
Pôle Européen du Cheval - Le Mans
Route de Feumusson
72530 YVRE L’EVEQUE
Contact : Angélique GUERET - firstname.lastname@example.org
+33 686 255 139
Parc du cheval - Chazey sur Ain - Lyon
1095 Le Luizard
01150 Chazey sur Ain
Contact: Raphael CHATELAIN - email@example.com
+33 615 541 844
Places will fill-up quickly and need to be booked as soon as possible. More information on these stabling options and potentially additional locations in France will be updated here.
Other EU Federations are encouraged to set-up stopover/transit stabling, meeting the necessary sanitary requirements and to contact the EEF and the FEI with the relevant information, so that this can be shared with the entire community.
We urge all affected NFs to inform their athletes accordingly and to stress the importance of ensuring appropriate biosecurity measures throughout their journey and continuing on arrival home.
We would like to sincerely thank the French NF for this initiative and will keep you updated on any further developments on the stopover/transit stabling options.
Note that a new portal has been created on Inside.FEI.org, where you will find all the latest figures, information and news around the current EHV-1 outbreak in Europe. We will continue to publish all the latest information there.
Following our two communiques on 1 March, we would like to provide you with the latest information on the outbreak of EHV-1 (neurological form) and the situation in Valencia (ESP), as well as an update on the GCT/GCL event in Doha (QAT).
The situation onsite in Valencia, although still extremely distressing for athletes and owners, has improved. A total of 83 on-venue horses are showing clinical signs and are being treated, but none of these horses are recumbent and require slings for support. Fifteen horses are currently being treated in external clinics (13 in Valencia and two in Barcelona).
There have been no more equine fatalities at the venue in Valencia since last weekend, but sadly one horse has died at a veterinary hospital in Barcelona and one has died in Germany. Both of these horses had been in Valencia. There are no reports of any further related deaths, but tragically this brings the total number of deaths in this outbreak to six.
FEI Veterinary Manager Gonçalo Paixão remains in Valencia, and will be joined by FEI Jumping Director Marco Fuste, who will provide additional support to the onsite team.
Communications have also improved, with a meeting at the venue today between Spanish Ministry Officials (MAPA), the Organisers, the OC veterinarians, an athlete representative and the FEI treatment team leader. Agreement was reached on roles, treatment protocols and a new plan for separation of horses following requests from athletes and owners for their horses to be grouped together without infringing biosecurity protocols.
Some of the additional temporary stabling delivered to the venue at the beginning of the week was unsuitable for large horses, however, replacement boxes organised by Katharina Offel of the International Jumping Riders Club are being transported to the venue from the Spanish Sunshine Tour after thorough cleaning and disinfection. These are due to arrive in Valencia tomorrow.
In Doha, a German horse at the Al Shaqab venue, which was already in isolation after arriving from Valencia, has tested positive for EHV-1 and has been transferred to the isolation unit of the neighbouring veterinary clinic, together with a second German horse that has returned an inconclusive result and will continue to be retested.
A total of four horses that had been competing in Valencia arrived in Doha on 20 February, having left the Spanish venue earlier in the month. Of the four, two Colombian horses had left Valencia on 7 February, and the two German horses had departed from Valencia on 12 February, eight days prior to the FEI being notified of the EHV-1 outbreak.
As per our communique of 22 February, the FEI identified all 752 horses that had been in Valencia since 1 February and blocked them in the FEI Database, meaning that they cannot enter any FEI Events until they have fulfilled the necessary testing requirements. This included the four horses that had travelled to Doha and the FEI contacted the Organisers to tell them to isolate these horses on the Al Shaqab venue. All four horses tested negative on 22 February, but remained in the isolation stables.
The FEI has been in contact with the Doha Organisers continuously and has conducted an ongoing risk analysis of the situation, together with world-leading epidemiologists. Based on the additional biosecurity measures already in place onsite at Al Shaqab, the fact that all other horses at the venue have returned negative PCR tests over the last two days and subject to a number of mandatory conditions (listed below), the FEI has agreed that this weekend’s competition can go ahead in Doha. However, the FEI reserves the right to cancel the event if there are any changes to the current situation.
The FEI and the Doha organisers invited all onsite athletes, FEI Officials and Team Veterinarians in Al Shaqab to a virtual meeting today to advise them of the conditions under which the event is allowed to continue and to answer questions.
These conditions include:
“Obviously there is no such thing as zero risk, but for the competing horses in Doha, there is no greater risk of infection than at any other event”, FEI Veterinary Director Göran Akerström said. “Epidemiologically, the risk of further cases amongst other horses in Doha is negligible due to the biosecurity measures that have already been put in place, and the additional mandatory conditions agreed today. Obviously the situation will be monitored very closely and we have the option to cancel the event if things change.”
The FEI has cancelled international events in 10 countries on the European mainland with immediate effect and until 28 March 2021 due to the rapid evolution of a very aggressive strain of the neurological form of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1), which originated in Valencia (ESP) and has already resulted in related outbreaks in at least three other countries in Europe.
This decision applies to all FEI disciplines, but in order to prevent huge numbers of horses simultaneously departing the Jumping Tours on the Iberian Peninsula, in Italy and Belgium that have been ongoing for a number of weeks, these specific Tours will be allowed to continue as individual “bubbles” on the condition that absolutely no new horses are allowed to enter the venues and no positive cases of EHV-1 are confirmed.
The Jumping Tour venues in Vejer de la Frontera (ESP), Vilamoura (POR), San Giovanni in Marignano (ITA) and Gorla Minore (ITA) will have stringent biosecurity protocols in place and additional FEI Veterinary Delegates onsite. Horses will only be permitted to leave these venues when they are in possession of an official health certificate from the local Veterinary Authorities. Any horses leaving these venues without this documentation will be blocked on the FEI Database. It is also illegal to transport a horse without an official health certificate.
Oliva Nova (ESP) had already advised the FEI this afternoon that it has decided to cancel the rest of its scheduled competitions in the Mediterranean Equestrian Tour III. Opglabbeek (BEL) has also informed the FEI that it has cancelled its events in March.
A number of countries, including France, have already cancelled all their events to minimise transmission of the virus.
The decision, which covers events in France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Italy, Austria, Poland, Netherlands, Germany and Slovakia, has been made in accordance with FEI General Regulations Article 112.3, which state: The Secretary General shall have the authority to remove any Competition and/or Event from the Calendar if justified circumstances relating to a Competition or the Event are established.
“This was not an easy decision to block events in mainland Europe, particularly after the major disruption to the FEI Calendar caused by the Covid-19 pandemic”, FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez said, “but this EHV-1 outbreak is probably the most serious we have had in Europe for many decades and our decision is based on clearly identified epidemiological risk factors.
“This strain of EHV-1 is particularly aggressive and has already caused equine fatalities and a very large number of severe clinical cases. We need to keep our horses safe.
“We are also aware that a large number of horses left the venue in Valencia without an official health certificate, meaning they had an unknown health status. Some horses were already sick, and the risk of transmission from these horses is a major concern.
“Cancelling these competitions in mainland Europe, with the exception of the ongoing Jumping Tours in the Iberian Peninsula and Italy, limits the number of horses travelling internationally and therefore reduces the likelihood of this very serious virus being transmitted on an increasingly wider scale. We also strongly recommend that the affected member Federations should also cancel their national events.
“We are very conscious of the fact that this is a very stressful and distressing time, and that this is potentially hugely disruptive for those aiming for their Minimum Eligibility Requirements (MERs) or confirmation results for Tokyo, but we are looking at ways to alleviate that in order to assist athlete/horse combinations in getting their MERs or confirmation results once the events in mainland Europe are allowed to resume.”
The FEI is aware that some athletes have already arrived on competition venues or are en route, and will contact all impacted athletes entered in Events between now and 28 March 2021.
All the latest updates on EHV-1 can be found here.
We are currently experiencing what is probably the most serious EHV-1 outbreak in Europe for decades and, while the Spanish Veterinary Authorities are in charge onsite in Valencia, the FEI Veterinary Department is driving coordination of both the onsite and wider measures in direct cooperation with the Spanish National Federation. The situation is difficult but is under control.
As many of you will have seen on social media and other online media platforms, there are some very distressing images and footage of extremely sick horses in Valencia. Tragically four horses have now died over the weekend, 84 on-venue horses are showing clinical signs and are being treated, and a further 11 horses are being treated in external clinics (nine in Valencia and two in Barcelona).
The treatment of horses on venue has been vastly improved with additional veterinary support and medical supplies, with a total of 21 veterinarians now onsite.
Over the weekend, the FEI ordered extra stabling so that healthy/recovered horses can be better separated from the sick horses on venue to prevent further transmission. A total of 44 temporary stables, which are being transported from the South of France, are due to arrive onsite today and 22 boxes will also be supplied to the Valencia Equine Hospital in order to free up emergency treatment permanent stables.
Additionally, the French National Federation and the FEI have coordinated a supply of inflatable support mats to assist recumbent horses to stand. Rescue nets and emergency slings are being sourced from Switzerland. The French and German National Federations are also supplying extra veterinarians.
A member of the FEI Veterinary Department is onsite in Valencia and establishing improved lines of communication between the authorities, the Valencia Organisers and athletes.
As this strain of EHV-1 is particularly aggressive and there are now confirmed related outbreaks in France, Belgium and Germany, we remain concerned that several sick and in-contact horses left the venue before it was closed for departures and that they may spread the disease.
Although the FEI has blocked all these horses in the FEI Database until the required testing protocols have been fulfilled, the FEI has again directly contacted National Federations with horses that participated in Valencia requesting confirmation that they have contacted all their athletes that were in Valencia, that their national veterinary authorities have been informed about the outbreak and the returning horses, and that the necessary isolation of returning horses and in-contact horses has been put in place and compliance is being controlled.
The FEI is also collating further information about related outbreaks and the measures put in place at local level to handle an outbreak.
The Veterinary Department, supported by leading epidemiologists, is undertaking a constant risk assessment in order to take and advise on correct preventive measures.
While the priority remains the current outbreak and minimising the risk of further transmission, the FEI will be using data gathered from this outbreak to evaluate the effectiveness of the EHV-1 vaccine, seeing which horses in the total group of 752 that participated in Valencia have been vaccinated, which had symptoms or were asymptomatic, and which horses have died.
The FEI will continue to work closely with the affected National Federations and update the wider community as soon as new information becomes available.
At this critical time, we are grateful for the way our community continues to come together to deal with this outbreak. This is a true example of solidarity among our National Federations in Europe working together with the FEI. And we owe a special vote of gratitude to the Spanish, French and German Federations for all their incredible support in this time of need. Thank you!
As an update to the communique we sent on Monday about the Equine Herpes Virus outbreak (EHV-1 – neurological form) in Valencia (ESP), the FEI Veterinary Department is working with all parties involved to provide support to those impacted and to minimise the spread of the virus.
We have been advised that there are currently over 150 horses still on the venue. A total of 72 horses are showing clinical signs of EHV-1. Of the 47 horses that have been tested, 17 are now confirmed as having the virus.
Of that number, we are informed that three horses have been transferred to the veterinary hospital with neurological symptoms, but one of these is said to be recovering well and is expected to return to the venue shortly. We are receiving information that there may be additional numbers of horses displaying neurological signs, but do not have any confirmation of that at this point.
In addition, there are four confirmed cases of horses that left the venue on 14 February and became sick shortly after returning to their home country, plus two possible further outbreaks in a third country that can be traced back to Valencia.
The FEI is liaising directly with the Spanish National Federation, which is working closely with the competent veterinary authority in the Valencia region, Sanidad e Higiene Animal y Trazabilidad. This authority has sealed off the Valencia venue and declared it an isolation unit.
In order to help alleviate the very difficult situation for athletes, owners and grooms with horses still on the venue in Valencia, the FEI has requested – and received – agreement from the regional veterinary authorities to allow five additional veterinarians onsite to treat the affected horses. The FEI is currently organising to get these five veterinarians onsite, as well as additional medical supplies that will be delivered to the venue.
We have also requested a detailed plan from the regional veterinary authorities on the treatment of sick horses, management of the outbreak, and the plan for getting healthy horses off the venue. We have just received the protocol this afternoon and we are following up directly with them on this.
As we advised you previously, in accordance with the FEI Veterinary Regulations, Article 1029.7, a total of 752 horses that have attended Valencia since 1 February 2021 have been blocked in the FEI Database and are not be permitted to enter any FEI Events until they have fulfilled the necessary testing requirements.
In addition, as we informed you at the beginning of the week, we have directly contacted the National Federations with athletes and horses that have participated at Valencia since 1 February 2021, and will be updating those with horse onsite today. We have also instructed the Organisers of the other Tours on the Iberian Peninsula that they must not accept any horses that have been competing in Valencia.
In order to keep the community informed, we will send further updates as soon as any new information is available.
The FEI Veterinary Department has been advised of an outbreak of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1) at the CES Valencia Spring Tour (ESP). It is likely that the disease has been transferred to horses that have attended the venue since at least 1 February 2021.
In accordance with the FEI Veterinary Regulations, Article 1029.7, horses that have attended Valencia since 1 February 2021 are blocked in the FEI Database and will not be permitted to enter any FEI Events until they have fulfilled the necessary testing requirements.
Any horse travelling with a fever is not only a potential carrier and therefore likely to spread the virus to all other horses in the transport, but is at increased risk of developing shipping fever or the more serious neurological form of EHV. It is also a violation of EU transport legislation to travel with a sick horse, except for transport to veterinary facilities. Only symptom-free horses should travel and horses leaving Valencia must have their temperature taken prior to travel.
We have informed the Organisers of the other Tours on the Iberian Peninsula of the situation and instructed them that they must not accept any horses that have been competing at Valencia.
Competition in Valencia will only resume once the venue has been declared clear of EHV.
All NFs with athletes and horses that have participated at Valencia since 1 February 2021 will shortly receive a separate communique outlining the measures that have already been taken and the measures that they personally need to take to help prevent the further spread of this virus.
An updated (February 2021) EHV factsheet is available here.
Equine Coronavirus, or ECoV, is nothing new, it was first detected in the United States of America in 1999. ECoV is not linked to Covid-19 and cannot be transmitted to humans.
Due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, there is an understandable concern associated with the term Coronavirus, but there are a large number of these viruses, and the vast majority only result in mild symptoms. One of the most prevalent Coronaviruses in humans is the common cold.
The equine variety, ECoV, which generally causes mild gastrointestinal issues, is endemic in a number of countries, including Japan. It is also present in the United States of America, parts of Europe and the Middle East.
As the FEI has just been advised by the Japan Racing Association (JRA) of an outbreak of ECoV last year at the Tokyo Racecourse – which is not an Olympic or Paralympic venue – we have created an informative factsheet (see attached) about ECoV. This is also published on the Tokyo Olympic & Paralympic Games hub.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the FEI Veterinary Department.
Please find attached updates about:
Competency-based Evaluation System
Veterinary Courses and Registration
Education System and Applications for Promotion
EADCM Sampling Forms
Social Media Guidelines
The FEI would like to warn the equestrian community that some batches of Marstall feed containing apple pomace were contaminated with caffeine, a Controlled Medication and Specified Substance on the FEI Equine Prohibited Substances List.
Bernhard Kreiling GmbH, the manufacturer of Marstall, identified apple pomace, an ingredient in the feed, to be the source of contamination. Measures have been taken by Bernhard Kreiling GmbH to prevent further contamination with caffeine and other substances derived from caffeine. Feed produced since 14 July 2020, i.e. batch numbers 219301, 219302, 219303 and 219304 onwards, should be unaffected. The FEI recommends that anyone using this feedstuff should carefully check the batch numbers and contact the manufacturers if they have any concerns.
The FEI recommends that samples are kept from batches of feed and supplements given to competition horses to enable a thorough investigation to be carried out should contamination be suspected.
Under the FEI Regulations, from 1 January 2021 it will be possible for horses to be tested for caffeine under the Elective Testing scheme. Since caffeine is listed as a Specified Substance, from 1 January 2021 any finding will be treated as an Atypical Finding.
Further information concerning contamination prevention can be found here.
In follow-up to our communique of 7 October 2020 (see below), the British Horseracing Authority has been made aware that the products of several other equine feed companies, besides GAIN Equine Nutrition, may also have been affected by the shipment of contaminated molasses suspected of containing the banned substance Zilpaterol.
We understand that the companies in question are contacting customers directly to advise on the batches that may have been affected and to replace the contaminated feed.
Anyone contacted by their supplier should follow their advice and, if required, stop feeding any potentially affected product immediately. They should also ensure that all feed equipment (bowls, scoops, bins etc.) that may have contained any contaminated product is cleaned thoroughly with detergent and plenty of water.
In line with our previous advice, it is strongly advised that horses that may have inadvertently ingested Zilpaterol are withdrawn from competition.
Further information on contamination prevention can be found here.
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