Domestic horses or burros that have been in the Oatman, Arizona area recently may potentially have been exposed to equine influenza, because of contact with some infected wild burros.
Owners of domestic horse and burro owners are advised to limit contact with wild burros in the Black Mountain Herd Management Area (HMA), which includes Oatman. In addition, they are advised to consult with a veterinarian on potential steps to take to avoid spreading the disease. People are also advised not to feed wild burros or provide water to them, particularly near domestic animals.
The disease affects equines only; it is not a threat to humans or other animals.
Equine influenza can be a highly contagious respiratory disease. Although it occurs normally in horse and burro populations, it may spread through direct contact between animals or as a result of sharing feeding or water troughs.
It is generally not a fatal condition. However, if the horses or burros affected by equine influenza are not treated, they could possibly have other health complications, leading to death. Recent veterinary tests confirmed two burros in the Oatman area have died from the illness – one on May 19 and one on May 21.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which manages the Wild Horse and Burro Program, has notified the Office of the State Veterinarian of the confirmed occurrence. The BLM will continue monitoring conditions in the Black Mountain HMA, which includes Oatman.