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Section highlightThe Housing (Wales) Bill
The Bill will introduce significant improvements across the housing sector to ensure that people have access to a decent, affordable home and better housing-related services.
Legislative programme 2013 - 2014 »
The First Minister detailed the 8 bills in the Welsh Government’s 5-year Legislative Programme that will be brought forward during the 3rd year of the Welsh Assembly.Learn more »
Section highlightProject pipeline update - December 2013
This Wales Infrastructure Investment Plan annex highlights planned investments and potential procurement opportunities.
2nd Supplementary Budget 2013-14 »
The 2nd Supplementary Budget proposes a number of changes to the 1st Supplementary Budget for 2013-14, which was published on 25 June 2013.Learn more »
- Statistics & Research
African Horse Sickness
Background to the disease
African Horse Sickness (AHS) is a disease that is spread by midges. Dogs have been known to be infected by eating infected horsemeat. It has never occurred in the UK, but is found in Southern Africa. An outbreak occurred in Spain relatively recently, which was associated with the import of infected zebras from Africa.
The spread of disease is influenced by climatic conditions including warm, moist weather and high rainfall, which favour the spread of carrier insects (such as midges) as well as spread by wind dispersal.
The clinical signs seen are dependent upon what form of the disease is present:
- in the most acute form, which has a short incubation period of only three to five days, affected horses have a high fever, severely laboured breathing, coughing and profuse discharge from the nostrils. The mortality rate is very high with up to 95% of horses dying within a week
- in the cardiac form of the disease, which has an incubation period of from seven to fourteen days, swellings are present over the head and eyelids, lips, cheeks and under the jaw. The mortality rate is around 60 per cent and death results from heart failure
- the mixed form of the disease is a combination of the above two types. It has an incubation period of from five to seven days and the disease shows itself initially by mild respiratory signs followed by the typical swellings of the cardiac form
- horse sickness fever is the mildest form, characterised by a fever with low temperatures in the morning rising to a high peak in the afternoon.
If you suspect signs of any of African Horse Sickness you must immediately notify your local Animal Health Veterinary Laboratories Agency Office (external link).
No vaccine for AHS is currently licensed in the European Union (EU). Use of a modified live vaccine for AHS (such as the one being produced by Onderstepoort Biological Products Ltd in South Africa) carries a risk of vaccine virus reversion to wild type. This means that the virus used in the vaccine could potentially undergo changes whereby it could actually infect the carrier insects and, subsequently, susceptible horses. Currently the vaccine will not be considered for use in the UK other than in an emergency situation.
African Horse Sickness (Wales) Regulations 2013
The African Horse Sickness (Wales) Regulations 2013 (external link) will only be used during an outbreak or suspected outbreak of African Horse Sickness (AHS). The risk of an AHS outbreak in GB is considered to be low. However, recent outbreaks of Bluetongue and Schmallenberg have demonstrated the risk posed by animal diseases spread by Cullicoides midges. Similar regulations are already in force in England and Scotland.