Strangles: Did you know that...

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The British Horse Society (BHS) and the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) are planning a "Strangles Awareness Week" in the UK in conjunction with strangles-vaccine manufacturer Intervet. To be held May 14-20, the promotion will try to educate horse owners about the highly-contagious disease and also raise funds for more research.

Strangles is certainly not just a UK problem. It crops up periodically all over the USA, as well.

BHS and BEVA are assembling an impressive body of information for the campaign. Here's a preview from their "Did You Know..." fact sheet; watch this blog for more helpful information about strangles in the weeks to come:

Did you know that...

* Strangles is one of the three most significant equine respiratory infections worldwide and is responsible for 30% of infectious diseases.

* Strangles isn't a viral infection, but it is caused by a bacterium called Streptococcus equi. Different strains have varying levels of severity.

* In Sweden, approximately four cases of strangles are seen for every case of "flu."

* 36 Irish cases of the disease were reported between January and March of last year, with a further 56 outbreaks recorded between April and August.

* In the UK, nearly 20% of horses sampled during recent bacteriology testing proved positive for the strangles bacterium, Streptococcus equi.

* Strangles is fatal in 1% of cases, with 10% of infected horses developing ?Bastard' strangles, the serious complication where further abscesses form on other body organs.

* Horses can harbor the disease with no outward signs for years after infection and may shed the infective pathogen for up to six weeks upon recovery.

* While 75% of horses develop immunity of up to five years or more after infection, 25% of horses may go down with the disease again within this time.

* Last year strangles cost at least two British horse establishments approximately ?20,000 (almost $40,000 in US dollars) each.

* Although horse-to-horse contact is often thought to be the most common means of the bacterium spreading, the local environment and particularly shared water sources are very important modes of transmission. It is also spread by in-direct contact such as tack and stable equipment.

* The bacterium is known to survive for 63 days on wood at 2°C (35°F) and even longer in water.

Thanks to BHS, BEVA and Intervet for their efforts to educate horse owners about the disease.

To learn more: http://www.equine-strangles.co.uk/

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