Horses vaccinated against summer eczema

March 28 2020 | General

A major milestone was reached on 16th March when 27 horses, which had been vaccinated against summer eczema, were exported from Iceland to so-called ‘midge areas’ in Europe.
After 20 years of research, Icelandic and international scientists at the University of Iceland’s Institute for Experimental Pathology at Keldur, University of Bern and other partner institutions, have developed a vaccine against summer eczema. The project’s final stage has now begun.
Summer eczema, also known as equine insect bite hypersensitivity or sweet itch, is a chronic, recurrent seasonal dermatitis of horses caused by an allergic reaction to the bite of Culicoides biting midges which don’t exist in Iceland. The occurrence has been very high in exported Icelandic horses, up to 50% in areas where these midges are common. The eczema causes discomfort and distress and has proven a serious problem in Icelandic horse export.
It is hoped that the vaccine can be used as a preventive measure against the eczema!