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Randy de Greef: “The Virus Becomes a Problem when Large Groups of Horses Get Infected & it Cannot be Contained”

Geneva, Switzerland – March 19, 2021 –  In light of the recent outbreak of the Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1) in Europe, Rolex Grand Slam Showjumping reached out to Randy de Greef, veterinary for The Dutch Masters, who kindly answered their questions about the situation.

What is EHV-1 and how is the FEI helping to manage it?

EHV-1 is an equine virus, which can cause neurological problems in some of the affected horses. I understand the FEI is helping with the organisation of veterinarians in Valencia, Spain to take care of the affected horses. And more generally, the FEI has cancelled international competitions in a number of European countries to help minimise the risk of the virus spreading 

Has show jumping ever had to cope with a virus like this before?

I don’t believe the sport has ever had to cope with a virus on such a large scale as this outbreak of EHV-1

Is it likely that the virus will eventually spread globally, i.e. beyond Europe?

The virus already exists in the horse population globally; it becomes a problem when large groups of horses get infected and for some reason the infection cannot be contained to the area of the outbreak. In that situation, there is a lot of the virus being transmitted, which makes other horses sick.

What measures have been implemented to mitigate the virus getting out of control?

As far as I know, all horses are as much as possible isolated in Valencia, and the FEI has cancelled international competitions in a number of European countries to help minimise the risk of the virus spreading.

How soon could the virus be brought under control? Can it be ever be fully eradicated worldwide?

It really depends how many infected horses have already left the Valencia showground and are infectious to horses in their hometown stable. EHV-1 will never be fully eradicated; we have to live with it and perhaps in the future be more careful with the hygiene measurements around the transport of horses, particularly internationally

Source: Press Release Rolex Grand Slam

Photo: © Rolex Grand Slam / Kit Houghton


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