Equine Canada (EC) would like to advise all stakeholders that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is seeking input on a proposed strategy for future Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) control in Canada. The deadline for comments is June 1st.

Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA, Swamp Fever) is a persistent and incurable viral disease of equines (i.e. horses, donkeys, mules, zebras) found nearly worldwide. It is transmitted almost exclusively through blood or blood products on the mouthparts of biting insects. Although most affected equines appear to have few clinical consequences, some forms of EIA can be associated with extreme sickness and death. The disease can be diagnosed easily using a reliable blood test but there is no available vaccine or treatment. As a World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) listed disease, a requirement for international trade or movement of equines is proof of a negative EIA test. Many countries also have control programs based on blood testing.

EIA became a reportable disease in Canada in 1971 and there has been some form of national disease control program since 1972. In response to an industry request, the CFIA developed the current EIA program in 1998 as an approach the majority of horse owners would support. The program was developed in conjunction with industry and it is delivered by way of partial cost-recovery. The program was based on internationally recognized disease control standards, science of the disease, knowledge of the disease situation in Canada, and available diagnostic methods at that time. Participation in the program is voluntary and when a positive horse is identified, the CIFA conducts an investigation which involves the infected horse and those that have been exposed to them within the previous 30 days (trace-back period).

Canada’s current approach to EIA control faces some notable challenges and the draft EIA document outlines a strategy which has the potential to effectively address them. Equine Canada is requesting your help in reviewing the document and providing feedback on its contents. The results of this consultation will be used to determine if there is interest among equine stakeholders for the CFIA to work collaboratively with its partners to further explore this option to control EIA in Canada.

Please provide your suggested edits to Julie Cull jcull@equinecanada.ca at Equine Canada by June 1, 2015. The feedback provided will be submitted to the CFIA.