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Equine Infectious Anaemia (EIA)

Equine infectious anaemia (EIA) or swamp fever is caused by a lentivirus related to human immunodeficiency virus which causes AIDs in people. EIA is considered to be a classical bloodborne infection and the virus is mechanically transmitted by biting flies (mainly horse flies) and contaminated needles and other instruments. All infected horses remain virus carriers for life and can serve as a source of infection for other horses. Control programmes are based on identifying infected horses by laboratory testing and removing them from the population.

In 2006 the threat of EIA to the Irish horse industry was averted largely due to the combined efforts of the Department of Agriculture, the ITBA and the Irish Equine Centre. No cases of EIA have been detected in Ireland since 2006. However, the disease remains a problem in some EU member states and sporadic incursions have been reported in the UK. The safest option is to test all horses prior to introduction to a premise. The Code of Practice recommends testing mares, stallions and teasers each year before breeding.

The EIA test can be performed on the same blood sample as that collected for EVA testing. There are two tests in routine use for the detection of infected horses, the Coggins test and the ELISA. The Coggins test is the OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) prescribed test for international trade and is the test required by many regulatory authorities and some sales companies. However, the ELISA is rapid and sensitive and is used routinely for pre-breeding screening tests. The ELISA is also accepted by some sales companies. The interpretation of the Coggins test can be subjective and weak positives difficult to identify.

Thus at the IEC, all samples submitted for Coggins testing are also tested be ELISA. This is included in the price of the Coggins test.

Turnaround Time
2 days
Antibody ELISA
1 day
Equine Breeding Profiles Lab Tests
Turnaround Time
2 - 3 days
7 days