Charity works to keep African horse sickness out of Cambodia

An international equine charity has been working with horse and pony owners in Cambodia to help keep African horse sickness out of the country, following an outbreak in neighbouring Thailand earlier this year.

In February, Thailand was the centre of the first outbreak of African horse sickness (AHS) in the Asia-Pacific region in more than 50 years. Mortality rates were very high, so there were real concerns about the disease spreading to neighbouring countries, including Cambodia, where about 30,000 working ponies support the livelihoods of their families.

African horse sickness had never been seen in Thailand before; it is caused by a virus and transmitted by infected biting insects. The outbreak was first seen in a group of racehorses in March, with at least 42 deaths. Since then, media reports estimate more than 500 horses have succumbed to the disease.

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