A risk assessment of equine piroplasmosis entry, exposure and consequences in the UK

Coultous, R. M. , Sutton, D. G.M. and Boden, L. A. (2022) A risk assessment of equine piroplasmosis entry, exposure and consequences in the UK. Equine Veterinary Journal, (doi: 10.1111/evj.13579) (PMID:35478189) (Early Online Publication)

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Abstract

Background: Equine piroplasmosis (EP) is currently not endemic in the UK, despite a lack of formal surveillance and the presence of carrier horses in the equine population. Pathogen establishment would have significant welfare and economic impacts on the national equine industry, but the disease is often overlooked by UK practitioners. Objectives: To assess the risk of disease entry, exposure and consequences to the UK equine population. Study design: Qualitative risk assessment. Methods: A qualitative risk assessment was constructed utilising the current World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) published framework for importation risk assessment, assessing the key areas of disease entry, exposure and consequences to the UK equine population. Results: The overall risk of EP entry to the UK via importation of infected equidae with acute disease is very low but considered medium with subclinical carrier animals. Entry via importation of ticks or the importation of blood is considered very low. The risk of EP exposure to susceptible equidae in the UK is considered low by the infection routes of tick-bites, contaminated needles and contaminated blood, but very high via transplacental transfer. However, the consequences of EP endemic establishment are considered of high significance to the UK equine industry. Main limitations: A lack of available numerical data for events and variables in disease import risk meant a qualitative assessment was the most practical method for this scenario. Conclusions: This risk assessment highlights that EP positive animals are able to enter and are currently present in the UK, and that conditions do exist that could allow forward transmission of the disease. It has highlighted a gap in existing policy where the UK falls behind OIE guidelines and has suggested steps to correct this discrepancy and improve national biosecurity.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Early Online Publication
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Boden, Dr Lisa and Coultous, Dr Robert and Sutton, Professor David
Authors: Coultous, R. M., Sutton, D. G.M., and Boden, L. A.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Equine Veterinary Journal
Publisher:Wiley
ISSN:0425-1644
ISSN (Online):2042-3306
Published Online:28 April 2022
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2022 The Authors
First Published:First published in Equine Veterinary Journal 2022
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
190867Equine piroplasmosis: evaluating the threat to the UK and IrelandWilliam WeirHorserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB)VET/RS/254Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
304516Coultous HBLB PostdocBrian ShielsHorserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB)VET/EPDF/2019-1Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine