African horse sickness in Portugal: a successful eradication programme
African horse sickness (AHS) was diagnosed for the first time in southern Portugal in autumn 1989, following outbreaks in Spain. AHS virus presence was confirmed by virus isolation and serotyping. An eradication campaign with four sanitary zones was set up by Central Veterinary Services in close collaboration with private organizations. Vaccination began on 6 October. In February 1990, vaccination was extended to all Portuguese equines (170000 animals). There were 137 outbreaks on 104 farms: 206 of the equidae present died (16%) or were slaughtered (14%); 81·5% were horses, 10·7% were donkeys and 7·8% were mules. Clinical AHS occurred more frequently in horses than donkeys and mules. In the vaccinated population, 82 animals (62·2% horses and 37·8% mules and donkeys), died or were slaughtered due to suspected or confirmed AHS. One year after ending vaccination, December 1991, Portugal was declared free of AHS. Cost of eradication was US$1955513 (US$11·5/Portuguese equine).(Accepted May 14 1999)
c1 Author for correspondence.