The veterinary staff of the Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA) will be in Georgetown today to take blood samples from horses to test for Equine Infectious Anaemia (EIA), also known as swamp fever.In a social media post, the Agriculture Ministry said the disease was caused by a virus and was transmitted by blood-sucking insects.Further, the Ministry informed, “The horses from which samples will be taken will also be dewormed and given vitamins at no cost to the owner as part of this exercise.”The exercise will commence at 07:00h in central Georgetown and will wind down at 15:00h in Sophia, Greater Georgetown.Officials at the GLDA told Guyana Times that owners of horses had no reason to panic as there was no outbreak of the disease. It was explained that the project is part of the organisation’s animal health work programme for this year.Similar exercises were conducted from Turkeyen to Good Hope on the East Coast of Demerara and from Brickery to Ruimveldt on the East Bank of Demerara on June 18 and 20, respectively.EIA, or swamp fever, is also called horse malaria. The virus attacks the red blood cells of horses causing anaemia, weakness, and even death.Research shows that there is no cure for the disease, and horses are required to be tested regularly.Once a horse is infected, the virus remains in the animal’s body for the rest of its life.A few warning signs of the disease may include slight to high fever for a few days, weakness, weight loss, depression, and even disorientation.Persons with enquiries can contact the GLDA on 220-6556 or 220-6557 for more information.The sudden testing for these animals come at a time when the Trinidad and Tobago Government recently took a stance to ban all poultry items from Guyana after expressing concerns over duck viral hepatitis.A memo dated May 31, 2019, and signed by the twin-island republic’s Senior Veterinary Officer informed the Customs and Excise Division of the ban.The Agriculture Ministry had announced that the GLDA’s hatchery was closed owing to the unusual death of ducklings.“There is an increased mortality rate of ducklings being hatched at our facility; additionally, we were also informed by some farmers that a similar occurrence was taking place on a number of farms throughout the various regions,” the statement said.It was later mentioned that the Muscovy breed was under threat, especially those two to three weeks old. This precipitated surveillance and monitoring exercise targeting the animals. At that time, the deaths were labelled as an “unusual occurrence”.