A three-day ban has been implemented in major locations in Australia due to the outbreak of equine flu in Sydney. Affected areas are New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania. The ban disallows the transport of horses in an effort to contain the highly contagious disease.
The equine flu is a respiratory illness that makes the horses tired. It is rarely fatal but is highly contagious. Humans are safe from the virus but can be carriers (through their clothing). Though the case of equine flu is not that bad at the moment, Australian authorities are not taking any risks.
The breeding season for horses is coming up next month and too much is at stake. Soon after the breeding season, horse racing activities are set to reach frenzied heights with the Spring Carnival, including the Melbourne Cup.
According to the Racing Board of Australia, if the flu spreads, the horse racing industry could be shut down for months. This, of course, is something that they are not looking forward to and as such they are doing everything they possibly could to prevent any outbreak.
So far, the equine flu has been reported only in Japan, which Australian officials say may be the source of their own occurrences. This is because Japanese stallions regularly come into the country during the breeding season. Their horses also race during the Spring Carnival.
As of yet, there is no clear decision on what will happen in the next month or so.