Equine Disease Outbreaks | January Report

The College of Agriculture, Food and Environment in Lexington, Kentucky is home to the Gluck Equine Research Center, which, according to its website, is the only scientific institute in the United States with nearly all faculty conducting full-time research in equine health and diseases. Its Department of Veterinary Science publishes Equine Disease Quarterly, a newsletter that features a breakdown of the past quarter’s international disease outbreaks. 

We will be keeping you apprised of equine disease outbreaks around the world by publishing the department’s quarterly report right here on our blog every January, April, July and October. 



The International Collating Centre, Newmarket, United Kingdom, and other sources reported the following equine disease outbreaks. 

Cases of African horse sickness decreased substantially in the Republic of South Africa (RSA) during the period under review. Fewer than five cases occurred in the Eastern Cape Province, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu Natal; no cases were reported in the Western Cape Province. 

Kuwait confirmed three subclinical cases of glanders on pre-export testing. 

Equine influenza was recorded in Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Sudan, the UK, and the USA. The number of outbreaks/cases varied with fewer than five cases reported by Belgium, Denmark, and Germany, to six outbreaks in France, four of which involved multiple cases. Sudan reported 700 cases with 107 deaths; cases spread from south Darfur to east Darfur. The UK recorded 59 outbreaks. The disease was reported as endemic in the USA with outbreaks confirmed in six states. 

France, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the UK, and the USA reported outbreaks of strangles. The number of confirmed outbreaks ranged from two in Switzerland, three in Germany, 15 in the Netherlands, and 27 in France. The UK and the USA reported the disease as endemic, with the USA recording strangles in 14 states. 

Equine herpesvirus 1 (EHV-1) related diseases were recorded by Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Switzerland, the Netherlands, the UK, and the USA. Respiratory disease was diagnosed in Belgium (two outbreaks), Denmark (one outbreak), France (four outbreaks), Germany (one outbreak), Ireland (two outbreaks), the Netherlands (one outbreak) and the USA (numerous outbreaks). Denmark reported one outbreak involving four cases of EHV-1 abortionEHV-1 myeloencephalopathy was confirmed by France (three outbreaks, one involving five cases of the disease), Switzerland and the Netherlands (one outbreak apiece), and the USA (three outbreaks each involving single cases). 

Equine herpesvirus 4 respiratory disease was reported by Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands (three outbreaks apiece); France (11 outbreaks); Ireland, Japan, and Switzerland (one outbreak Third Quarter 2019 apiece); the UK (six outbreaks); and the USA (numerous outbreaks).

France, Poland, and the UK recorded cases of equine arteritis virus infection. Two outbreaks were confirmed by France, represented by single cases of abortion and two cases of equine viral arteritis in one of the outbreaks. Poland recorded one outbreak involving three cases of equine viral arteritis. The UK confirmed infection in a subclinical carrier stallion. 

Equine infectious anemia was reported by Canada (three outbreaks involving single cases, one of which was clinical), France (two outbreaks, each involving single cases), and the USA (14 outbreaks, one of which involved 17 horses). 

The USA confirmed five outbreaks of anthrax, all in a high-risk region of Texas. RSA reported that equine piroplasmosis was endemic in the country, with 29 cases recorded during the period under review.

Contagious equine metritis was confirmed by Denmark (case in a stallion), France (two outbreaks, one involving a carrier stallion and another causing metritis and abortion in a mare), and Germany (infection in a mare). 

Three outbreaks of salmonellosis were recorded in the USA. 

The USA reported 25 cases of equine neorickettsiosis involving three states. The vast majority were in July and August in Kentucky. 

Clostridial enterocolitis was recorded in the USA, with confirmation of 13 cases of Clostridium perfringens Type A toxin genotype and 15 cases of C. difficile. 

France reported eight outbreaks of rotavirus infection, six involving single cases and two with two cases. The USA confirmed 22 cases of infection, principally in Kentucky, the preponderance associated with the G14 virus genotype and a few involving both G3 and G14 genotypes. 

A single case of Lawsonia intracellularis infection was reported by the USA. 

Eastern equine encephalomyelitis was recorded in the USA with 76 cases confirmed in the third quarter, the majority in Florida and Michigan. 

West Nile encephalitis was reported by Austria (two cases), Brazil (three cases), Canada (one case), France (four cases), Germany (eight cases), Greece (two cases), Italy (one case), and the USA (34 cases, of which 14 were in California). 

RSA confirmed three cases of equine encephalosis.

Vesicular stomatitis (Indiana serogroup) was confirmed on premises in seven states in the USA: Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Wyoming. A total of 1095 affected premises were identified during the period under review. 

Rhodococcal-related disease was reported by Belgium (one case) and the USA, in which the disease is endemic. Twenty cases were diagnosed in Kentucky; this is considered a significant underestimate of the actual incidence. 

Germany and Switzerland reported single cases of ehrlichiosis.

This content was originally published in Equine Disease Quarterly, funded by underwriters at Lloyd’s, London. We have edited formatting and added links to provide further information on the diseases mentioned. 

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