The virus can and does kill foals by attacking their respiratory tracts. Some 15,000 foals are born in the Hunter Valley each year.
Authorities are working overtime to control the spread as it may have devastating effects. Already the foal crop of 2008 has been impacted greatly by the lockdown of mare travel in the Hunter Valley, which is still in place. If the EI spreads throughout the farms of the area, the impact could be dramatic.
The agistment and broodmare farm is at Blandford, north of Scone and close to a number of large, famous studs.
Hunter Valley Rural Lands Protection Board vet Jim Kerr said the worst fears of local Thoroughbred studs had been confirmed by the positive test.
And in another damning development, some racehorses in a stable near the Victorian/New South Wales border have developed symptoms resembling EI.
If these horses, which were tested the evening of Sept. 4, return positives, the entire Victorian Spring Carnival, home to the group I Melbourne Cup, may be in jeopardy.
At the moment, racing is being conducted in Victoria.
The leading Albury trainer, Brett Cavanough, whose stable is in question, reported eight of his 83 horses with elevated temperatures the morning of Sept. 4 but that number had almost doubled by the afternoon.