While this is an older study, it brings to mind something that often veterinarians and researchers don’t take into account: the human impact of a widespread disease. The Australian influenza outbreak was a critical time for the horse industry in that country, and these “raw” study results give some insight into what was happening in the human side of the equine industry during this crisis.
The study was titled, “Human Impacts of Equine Influenza: Summary Report,” and it is available free online from the Australian Horse Council.
In November 2007 the University of Western Sydney (UWS) Science of Mental Health and Adversity Unit (SciMHA) conducted a low-cost unfunded study of the psycho-social impacts of EI. This involved the use of an online Internet-hosted survey assessing a wide range of factors; such as general attitudes and concern about EI, general resilience, compliance with biosecurity (hygiene and control) measures, evaluation of professional and social support, and impacts on general health and well-being. The study was welcomed and supported by the Australian Horse Industry Council (AHIC) and was sent to people who were registered on its Horse Emergency Contact Database (HECD). Following this initial administration, the study was further supported by the other two national lead industry bodies; the Australian Harness Racing Council (AHRC) and the Australian Racing Board (ARB), and their state divisions, as well as a number of professional industry associations (e.g. the Equestrian Federation of Australia (EFA) and the Equine Veterinarians Australia (EVA). This report provides a summary of the data collected in the survey, with minimal description, breakdown by subgroups, or statistical analysis. It is intended to inform those with an interest in the human impacts of equine influenza. Further information or analysis is available on request, and the authors welcome comment.
Melanie Taylor, Kingsley E. Agho, and Emily Griffin, University of Western Sydney.