In early July, Wageningen Bioveterinary Research discovered in the Netherlands the first case of equine infectious anaemia (EIA) in a polo horse. EIA, a horse disease spread by blood-sucking insects and through blood contact (e.g. needles), in not treatable. Horses that become infected carry the virus for the rest of their lives. As a precaution, the stable with the infected horse is closed for 3 months and the horse in question was euthanized.
The other horses on site will be tested for infection with EIA several times over the next three months. In the Netherlands, EIA is a notifiable disease, but control of the disease is the responsibility of the horse owner. The NVWA supervises the control measures.
EIA can be present for some time before it is detected. In order to diagnose the disease, Wageningen Bioveterinary Research carries out two serological tests (ELISA and AGIDT or Coggins test). The Coggins test is always carried out by Wageningen Bioveterinary Research in Lelystad in case EIA is suspected.
In Germany, nine horses have been diagnosed with EIA. Because of the frequent polo matches that took place between Dutch and German teams, the sector has called for all Dutch polo horses to be screened. This is how the horse in question was diagnosed.