Kingdom free from AHS after two years

Kingdom free from AHS after two years

Thailand expects to get approval from the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) on a request to be declared a country free of African Horse Sickness (AHS) this year, after the last AHS case detected was more than two years ago, the government said on Wednesday.

The request for AHS-free status was submitted to the WOAH on Jan 30 and now the country is waiting for the WOAH's scientific committee to review the documents submitted to support the request, said deputy government spokeswoman Rachada Dhnadirek.

"When Thailand earns AHS-free status, it can start hosting international activities including horse races and importing and exporting horses," she said. "That will benefit the country economically."

Thailand recorded the first case of what became an AHS epidemic on March 27, 2020 which spread to 17 provinces, making 610 horses sick and killing 568 others, she said.

The Department of Livestock Development (DLD) later contained the epidemic and no new case has been detected since, she said.

It's been more than two years since the last known case of AHS was recorded, she said, citing reports by the DLD, Veterinary and Remount Department of the Royal Thai Army, Zoological Park Organisation and Thailand Equestrian Federation.

DLD director-general Somchuan Rattanamangkhalanon said the last AHS case was recorded on Sept 10, 2020. Although there is no effective treatment for AHS, infections can be prevented by vaccination, he said.

Citing results of a survey in 2020, he said, there were 2,987 registered horse keepers in the country, with 16,890 horses. These horses were kept in 12 provinces: Nakhon Ratchasima, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Phetchaburi, Chon Buri, Chaiyaphum, Ratchaburi, Sa Kaeo, Saraburi, Lop Buri, Ayutthaya, Nakhon Nayok and Chachoengsao.

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