After assisting in the public awareness of bird flu for almost two years, I think I’m becoming callous just hearing the word “flu.” As if I have not had enough–there’s been an outbreak of human flu here in Australia, deaths were recorded especially in young children.
A few weeks ago, Australia watched cautiously as Japan reported its first horse flu in decades. Australia is the only country in the world without the disease and many breeding stallions from Australia travel as far as Japan just to service some of the horses there.
This week, Australia reported its first outbreak of equine flu or horse flu last week and the implication to its horse racing and breeding industry is shooting billions of Australian dollars! Despite excellent response to the first outbreak, the disease seems to spread in a blink of an eye. After decades of being free, Australia is now contemplating vaccination. The implication of this is that the country will have to wait for about two years to gain certification from the World Organization for Animal Health or OIE that it is free from equine flu.
The current outbreak is feared to have an effect on the Melbourne Cup in November, well horse trainers, bettors, jockeys are still hoping that at least it would just be partial. Well, partial or not I’m coming to Melbourne albeit not to the Cup but to a conference. 🙂 But I hope I would have the chance to have a side trip at the sidelines at Melbourne Cup. 🙂