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Fears AHS has returned to the Cape

African Horse Sickness has killed 160 horses across the country this year alone.

Agriculture authorities fear African Horse Sickness has returned to the Western Cape. Picture: Abed Ahmed/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Agriculture authorities said on Monday they're worried the death of a horse near Melkbosstrand may have been due to African Horse Sickness (AHS).

South Africa was banned from exporting horses to the European Union (EU) since the outbreak of the disease in Mamre, on the west coast, in 2010.

The sickness has killed 160 horses across the country this year alone.

While EU officials are now thinking about lifting the ban, the Department of Agriculture's Wouter Kriel said they can only hope the disease hasn't come back to the Western Cape.

"We haven't had any African Horse Sickness since the Mamre outbreak until this horse that has now died in Melkbosstrand. We suspect that it might be African Horse Sickness."