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African horse sickness

Where an outbreak of African horse sickness is suspected, Community measures are taken to prevent the spread of the disease.


Council Directive 92/35/EEC of 29 April 1992 laying down control rules and measures to combat African horse sickness [See amending act(s)].


This Directive provides for measures to be taken to combat African horse sickness once an outbreak of the disease is suspected.

Where one or more equidae (horses) on a holding are suspected of being infected with African horse sickness, the official veterinarian must notify the competent authority and take a number of measures, including placing the suspect holdings under surveillance, carrying out a census of the equidae and the infected places, carrying out an autopsy on suspect animals and banning the movement of equidae to or from the suspect holdings.

These measures may only be discontinued by the veterinarian when the competent authority has confirmed that the presence of African horse sickness is no longer suspected.

Where an outbreak of African horse sickness is confirmed, the veterinarian must have all infected equidae slaughtered and the carcases of the animals disposed of. He or she must also extend the measures taken on the holdings concerned to all holdings situated within a 20 km radius, have all animals in this area vaccinated and carry out an epizootiological survey

The competent authority must establish a protection zone (of at least 100 kilometres around the infected holding) and a surveillance zone (of at least 50 kilometres beyond the protection zone), in which certain specific measures are applied. These measures include: identifying all holdings containing equidae, visits and examinations carried out by the official veterinarian and a ban on moving the animals.

People living in these zones must be informed of all the restrictions in force. Systematic vaccination of the animals may be carried out in the protection zone.

Each Member State designates a national laboratory responsible for carrying out the tests laid down in the Directive, then informs the other Member States and the public the address of the laboratory’s contact details. Each national laboratory is required to liaise with the Community reference laboratory which is located in Algete (Spain).

In certain cases Commission experts may carry out examinations on a number of the holdings concerned.

Each Member State must draw up a contingency plan meeting the criteria laid down in the Directive. For example, they must set up a crisis centre and provide a list of local disease control centres and detailed information on the staff involved in control measures.

The Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health assists the Commission in the management of the measures taken against African horse sickness. Its remit includes laying down the duration of the measures and taking additional action.


ActEntry into force - Date of expiryDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Directive 92/35/EEC



OJ L 157 of 10.6.1992

Amending act(s)Entry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Regulation (EC) No 806/2003



OJ L 122 of 16.5.2003

Directive 2008/73/EC



OJ L 219 of 14.8.2008

Successive amendments and corrections to Directive 92/35/EEC have been incorporated in the basic text. This consolidated version  is for reference purpose only.


ANNEXE I – List of national African horse sickness laboratories:
Decision 2006/911/EC [Official Journal L 346 of 9.12.2006];
Directive 2006/104/EC [Official Journal L 363 of 20.12.2006];
Decision 2007/729/EC [Official Journal L 294 of 13.11.2007];
Directive 2008/73/EC [Official Journal L 219 of 14.8.2008].

ANNEXE II – Community reference laboratory:
Decision 2007/729/EC [Official Journal L 294 of 13.11.2007].

Last updated: 11.11.2010
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