FEI Veterinary Director Göran Åkerström from Sweden said while EHV-1 is endemic in many countries, the current outbreak of the neurological form is the worse that has been seen in decades. He said it had tested biosecurity processes and resilience.
“One death is one too many, and we must do everything in our power to stop the spread of this terrible virus. Nobody wants to see an outbreak like this ever again,” Åkerström said. Once the virus was under control, the FEI would put in place enhanced protocols to allow a safe return to play.
He said the decision by the FEI to have a competition lockdown was not taken lightly, but it was grateful for the support received from the equestrian community. “We are all aware of the ramifications this extended shutdown means for our sport, our members and stakeholders. The willingness of the community to accept and even welcome the prolonged lockdown is testimony to our collective dedication to the safety and welfare of our horses,” Åkerström said.
Åkerström urged those with sick horses and those who had returned a positive test to send the information to firstname.lastname@example.org, with anonymity guaranteed.