Latest: Equine influenza outbreak | A timeline of events and latest news

The Thursday card at Huntingdon was abandoned
The Thursday card at Huntingdon was abandoned

Get the latest news after all of Britain's horseracing was cancelled until Wednesday February 13 at the earliest due to an outbreak of equine influenza.

EQUINE INFLUENZA OUTBREAK - MAIN HEADLINES

LATEST VIDEO UPDATE...

1614: BREAKING - WEEKEND RACING OFF

There will be no racing in Britain until February 13 at the earliest, the British Horseracing Authority has announced.

An outbreak of equine flu has caused a six-day shutdown, with racing's rulers set to make a further assessment on Monday as to when racing can resume.

Click here for full story.

1530: BREAKING - 100+ yards placed into lockdown

The BHA have placed more than 100 yards into lockdown for testing following the outbreak of equine influenza, including those of Nicky Henderson and Paul Nicholls.

British-based trainers that had runners at Ayr or Ludlow on Wednesday, where McCain's Raise A Spark and Dry Lightening raced respectively, or Wolverhampton on Monday, are affected.

No declarations will be accepted from these trainers until the all clear is given from tests.

More to follow...

1505: Experts hopeful over containment

A vet from one of the UK's largest dedicated equine practices is hopeful the outbreak of equine flu can be effectively controlled over the coming days.

Click on the picture for full story...

Experts are hopeful
'Experts hopeful over containment'

1448: Donald McCain statement

Donald McCain has said in a statement he is unsure as to how the three affected horses in his yard contracted the virus.

McCain sent out runners at Ludlow and Ayr on Wednesday afternoon before vets later informed him of the news, with the trainer then contacting the British Horseracing Authority.

The origin of the infection is unclear, with McCain keen to emphasis he would never knowingly have run a potentially infected horse.

In a statement issued through the National Trainers Federation, McCain said: "I have been aware of the recent news about equine influenza outbreaks in France and Ireland, and over the last couple of days, I have been concerned about the health status of a small number of horses in the yard.

"Their welfare is at the front of our minds, so at my request, our veterinary surgeon has examined them regularly and we have followed his advice on testing and treatment.

"It was by following this protocol that the positive results for equine flu came to light yesterday evening.

"The BHA were contacted immediately and we are liaising closely with them about bio-security and management of all the horses at Bankhouse.

"Bankhouse follows all the available advice on disease control and all our horses are fully inoculated.

"We are scrupulous about observing the health status of horses in our care and taking the necessary steps to treat any condition that may affect them.

"It follows we would never race any horses that we could have known were infected.

"Over the last two months, all potential runners have been scoped and their blood checked within 36 hours of their races to ensure that only healthy horses compete for the yard.

"When new horses arrive at our yard we, as much as possible, try to keep them separate but at this stage cannot know if the infection came from recent arrivals or from horses returning from racing.

"We have three confirmed cases and this morning have taken blood and swabs from all the others for testing."

David Sykes, director of equine health and welfare at the BHA, added: "We would like to thank Donald McCain for his co-operation in this matter, and for the responsible manner in which he has dealt with this issue, under the guidance of his veterinary surgeon.

"He has acted professionally with the interests of the racing industry and the health of his horses as his priority."

1440: McCain confirms flu cases

Donald McCain has now confirmed that he is the trainer that has three cases of equine influenza in his yard.

More to follow on this...

Donald McCain: Confirmed the three cases of equine flu are based at his yard

1350: BHA latest...

1340: 'Vaccines are never 100% effective'

Trainer and vet James Given has been giving his thoughts on the equine flu outbreak on Sky Sports Racing...

1235: BHA concerns over outbreak

The BHA's chief regulatory officer Brant Dunshea has been doing the media rounds this morning and this article outlines some of the authority's major concerns.

1230: Saturday Newbury latest

Other cards due to take place on Saturday include the Betfair Hurdle meeting at Newbury, who are awaiting official word from the BHA this evening...

1222: Latest equine flu news round-up video...

1200pm: Equine flu questions and answers

Andy Charles and Richard Johnson (not that one) of Sky Sports answer the main questions surrounding equine flu and what happens next...

What is Equine Influenza?

Equine influenza is a highly contagious disease of horses, mules and donkeys. It mainly affects the upper and lower respiratory tract and is similar to the human influenza virus.

What are the symptoms of Equine Influenza?

Symptoms in non-immune animals include high fever, coughing and nasal discharge. Horse airways become inflamed and disrupt the clearance of mucus and debris, which can possibly lead to further infection.

Click here for full article with more answers to further questions

1025am: Wolverhampton Saturday off

Wolverhampton call off their Saturday card.

It was revealed that the infected yard had runners at Monday's meetings at Ayr and Ludlow and the only trainer to be represented at both meetings was Donald McCain.

McCain had two runners at Wolverhampton's card on Monday. A deep clean is due to be undertaken at the track.

Click here for 'Wolverhampton is off' story.

1019am: Irish racing goes ahead

Horse racing in Ireland is not affected. Gordon Elliott was one of the Irish trainers to have runners at Ayr on Wednesday but his horses were put in an isolation yard before they returned to his base.

Click here for 'business as usual' for Elliott story.

Click here for 'racing to continue in Ireland' story.

0943am: Updated BHA Statement

The British Horseracing Authority issued an updated statement on Thursday morning saying it expected a decision on Thursday evening over whether racing can go ahead on Friday following the outbreak of equine influenza.

It was revealed that the infected yard had runners at Monday's meetings at Ayr and Ludlow. The only trainer to be represented at both meetings was Donald McCain.

With swift action taken, the BHA is waiting on results of numerous samples to assess the "severity of the outbreak".

Click here for full story and more details from the 09.43 BHA statement.


11.23pm Wednesday: BREAKING NEWS: ALL racing on Thursday February 7 cancelled in Britain due to equine flu.

News broke late on Wednesday night that ALL of Thursday's horse racing cards in Britain had been cancelled due to an outbreak of equine influenza.

The abandoned cards were Chelmsford, Doncaster, Ffos Las and Huntingdon.

The BHA statement in full

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA), with unanimous support of the BHA’s industry veterinary committee, has taken the decision to cancel racing at all British racecourses on Thursday 7 February 2019. This is following the BHA being informed this evening by the Animal Health Trust of three confirmed Equine Influenza positives from vaccinated horses in an active racing yard.

Horses from the infected yard have raced today at Ayr and Ludlow, potentially exposing a significant number of horses from yards across the country and in Ireland. The fact that the cases have been identified in vaccinated horses presents a cause for significant concern over welfare and the potential spread of the disease and the action to cancel racing has been viewed as necessary in order to restrict, as far as possible, the risk of further spread of the disease.

The BHA has worked quickly to identify which yards could have potentially been exposed today and identify the further actions required. The BHA is presently communicating with yards potentially exposed to ensure appropriate quarantine and biosecurity measures are put in place and horse movements restricted to avoid possible further spread of the disease.

The full extent of potential exposure is unknown and we are working quickly to understand as much as we can to assist our decision making. The BHA is working closely with the Animal Health Trust and will issue a further update tomorrow. We recommend that any trainer who has concerns about the health status of any of their horses should contact their veterinarian.

About Equine Influenza

Equine influenza is a highly infectious disease of horses, mules and donkeys occurring globally caused by strains of Influenza A virus. It is the most potentially damaging of the respiratory viruses that occur in UK equines and disease symptoms in non–immune animals include high fever, coughing and nasal discharge.

The outbreak at the infected yard follows the identification of a number of equine influenza cases across Europe and the UK, including several in vaccinated horses. Following the recent outbreaks guidance was sent to trainers to inform them that all horses which have not had a vaccination against Equine Influenza within the last six months should receive a booster vaccination, and that trainers should be extra-vigilant with biosecurity.

However, equine influenza can be highly contagious and – unlike other infectious diseases – can be airborne over reasonable distances as well as be transmitted indirectly, including via people. There are no known consequences for humans associated with exposure to the disease.

The Animal Health Trust are the equine monitoring agent for disease surveillance in the UK and information is posted on their website and twitter feeds.

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