Japanese encephalitis information for horse owners

Japanese encephalitis is category 1 restricted matter.

Under Queensland legislation, if you suspect the presence of this disease in any species of animal, you must report it to Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23 or contact the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888.

Japanese encephalitis is a mosquito-borne viral disease. Waterbirds act as natural reservoirs for the virus, and mosquitoes can spread the virus to people, horses, pigs and other animals.

Queensland horse owners are urged to take steps to protect their horses against Japanese encephalitis virus and remain alert for signs of infection in their horses.

Contact your veterinarian if you think your horse is showing signs of Japanese encephalitis infection.

Protecting your horse

  • Rugging and hooding horses with a rug and fly mask
  • Stabling horses between dusk and dawn
  • Applying a safe insect repellent avoiding around and above the eyes. Contact your veterinarian about insect repellents that are safe for horses
  • Eliminating mosquito breeding sites on horse properties such as dripping or leaking taps and water troughs, as well as discarding objects that have the potential to hold water
  • Turning off lights inside stables during the night
  • Using fluorescent lights in stables that do not attract mosquitoes
  • Ensuring all screens and mesh at building openings are intact and any holes or tears are fully repaired
  • Using fans and if possible, fogging to eliminate mosquitoes within stables
  • Thoroughly clean your horse vehicles using a high-pressure wash to remove all organic material that may provide a breeding ground for mosquitoes

Read about mosquito management for horses.

Consult your private veterinarian for further advice.

If you own or keep a horse in Queensland you must be registered as a biosecurity entity. Registration allows you to be kept informed in the event of a biosecurity emergency.

Exports and trade

The Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry provides certification for live animals, meat and meat products for export to overseas markets.

They work with horse exporters to ensure horses meet importing country requirements for Japanese encephalitis.

More information