DAMMAM – The Ministry of Agriculture has revealed that several cases of horse flu have been found in the Eastern Province.
The first cases were found on Tuesday in Jubail with further cases later found in Qatif.
Authorities say the situation is under control and that it poses no threat, emphasizing that horse flu bears no relation to bird flu.
Sa’ad Abdullah Al-Muqbil, General Director of the Agricultural Affairs in the region, said there was no need for alarm. “The horses’ symptoms are like the normal symptoms of horse influenza which is a high temperature for three days. It is not dangerous and will not lead to death, nor will it infect human beings,” he said.
Immunization against the disease is available, but it does not influence the spreading of the disease, Al-Muqbil added.
Authorities have taken samples for analysis and expect to identify the cause of the spread within three days.
Horse flu (equine influenza) occurs globally, and is caused by two main strains of virus: equine-1 and equine-2. The disease has a nearly 100 percent infection rate in an unvaccinated horse population that has not been previously exposed to the virus.
While equine influenza is known to affect humans, historically, the impact of an outbreak amongst even the animal population was devastating. Because horses are heavily relied upon for general transport – the social and economic impact of widespread equine disease is devastating. – Okaz/SG