The flu epidemic gripping the horse racing industry has escalated with a further case being reported in the south of the country.

Around 1,500 tests have been processed by the Animal Health Trust over the weekend, with the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) due to make a decision this evening on whether racing can resume on Wednesday.

Equine Flu is a contagious disease which is very similar to the flu in Humans although not identical this means a human cannot contract it.

However, the affected horse can become very sick – symptoms include a very high temperature, coughing, enlarged glands under the lower jaw and discharge from the eyes.

This can leave racehorses unfit for competitions.

The BHA has banned racing until Wednesday - however, more cases are emerging and now shedding doubt on whether the industry will be clear by then.

Dean Ivory the owner of Dean Ivory Racing, a stables in Radlett, said he was confident the BHA was able to contain this outbreak.

He said: “Thankfully the BHA have acted quickly regarding this flu outbreak and our yard is quite safe.

“Horses usually have an annual equine flu vaccination, but this is likely to be increased to every six months.

“I feel confident that the BHA are taking every necessary step to stop any further outbreaks.”

The first cases emerged in the south-west coast of Scotland and Shropshire last Wednesday.

The latest case has been diagnosed on horse owner Simon Crisford’s yards in Newmarket Suffolk. He says there is "no obvious connection" between the horses that have tested positive for equine flu at his yard and their stablemate who ran last week in Newcastle.

His yard was one of the 174 stables to be placed in lockdown - because he had a runner at Newcastle last Tuesday - after which trainer Rebecca Menzies, who had also had runners at the meeting, reported a "suspicious" case.

Ms Menzies' horses have subsequently returned negative results for equine flu, while Mr Crisford confirmed his Newcastle runner, Sajanjl, is also clear of the virus.

In a statement, Mr Crisford said: "None of the four horses that have returned positive tests for equine influenza displayed any clinical signs of respiratory illness, including nasal discharge and elevated temperatures, before the mandatory swabbing that was undertaken last Friday, February 8.

"The swabbing occurred following Sajanjl's race at Newcastle last Tuesday, February 5, and she has tested negative. There is no obvious connection between Sajanjl and the four identified horses.

"All horses at Kremlin House Stables, totalling 92 boxes, undergo a strict vaccination check and programme on their arrival.

"All four identified horses have been vaccinated within the last six months along with the rest of the yard and in line with vaccination protocol."