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Exercise Pegasus 2017

Report on an African Horse Sickness Simulation Exercise Conducted in 2017 and Involving Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden

image of Exercise Pegasus 2017

African horse sickness (AHS) is an acute insect-borne viral disease of horses and other equines causing depression, respiratory and circulatory impairment. The mortality rate may approach 100%. The disease is transmitted by midges. In 2007–2009 midges caused the spread of bluetongue in cattle and sheep in Northern Europe. The midges are also the main vector and transmitter of AHS and the disease may occur in horses in the Nordic Baltic region during summer or early autumn. Contingency plans covering AHS have been adopted by the Nordic Baltic countries. This report provides information on the preparatory work and the conduct of a simulation exercise. The aim of the exercise included testing of National AHS contingency plans and of the communication systems established between veterinary authorities in the Nordic and Baltic countries for animal disease emergencies.

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Summary

The Nordic Baltic countries are free of many of the major infectious diseases that plague the equine sector in many parts of the world. To maintain this privileged health status veterinary administrations, horse owners and practising veterinarians need to be vigilant and consider exotic diseases when confronted with outbreaks of disease in horses. To enhance vigilance against exotic diseases all Nordic and Baltic countries have developed and adopted Contingency plans for African horse sickness, a vector borne viral disease. A very valuable tool for testing contingency plans is simulation exercises and a Nordic-Baltic African horse sickness simulation exercise was conducted in September 2017. The objectives included

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