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USDA Instituting New Blood Test for Equine Piroplasmosis

Horse Health Press Release

Effective February 1, 2004, the U. S. Department of Agriculture will institute a new blood test for determining the Equine Piroplasmosis (EP) status of horses upon entry into the U.S. The competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (CELISA) is more sensitive than the Complement Fixation test (CFT), which is currently used to test for EP. The CELISA has a greater chance of identifying chronically infected horses with piroplasmosis. Testing for EP is conducted on all horses imported into the U.S. with the exception of horses from Canada and Iceland.

USDA's National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) has spent two years validating the CELISA, which was developed by the USDA Agriculture Research Service.

As of January 1, 2004, USDA will perform, upon request, the CELISA on pre-entry sera from horses due to be shipped after February 1. Use of the pre-import test is recommended. Horses found to be positive for Piroplasmosis are not permitted entry into the U.S.

Questions can be directed to Dr. Freeda Isaac, APHIS, VS, National Center for Import and Export, 301-734-8364.

About Veterinary Services

VS (Veterinary Services) is responsible for protecting and improving the health, quality, and marketability of our Nation's animals, animal products, and veterinary biologics. This is accomplished through preventing, controlling, and eliminating animal diseases, and by monitoring and promoting animal health and productivity. VS is headquartered just outside of Washington, DC, in Riverdale, MD. Field employees work out of regional headquarters located in Fort Collins, CO, and Raleigh, NC. In addition, every State has an area veterinarian-in-charge to meet animal health needs on a local level and serve as a liaison between the State and Federal government.

Together with its customers and stakeholders, VS employs innovative methods to meet its goal of a strong animal health infrastructure. VS decisions are based upon sound science and the best available animal health information. With its skilled and dedicated leadership and workforce, VS continues to move toward its vision with progressive and effective communication with its customers and stakeholders.

This year marked a number of new beginnings for VS, among them, a new Deputy Administrator, the results of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture's (NASDA) review of its animal health safeguarding system, a new organizational structure, new legislation in the form of the Animal Health Protection Act (AHPA), a newly revised strategic plan, and a new look with the VS logo.

As demonstrated through the above-mentioned enhancements to its program, VS is committed to continued improvement in its scientific and technical capacity, while fostering close partnerships with its customers, both inside and outside APHIS. Additionally, VS recognizes that continual learning and balancing professional, personal, and community responsibilities are critical to success.