New Route Of Transmission Found For Zoonotic Bacteria

The bacterium S. equi ssp. zooepidemicus can be found in the respiratory tract of both horses with pneumonia and clinically healthy horses. Originally believed to be spread through blood vessels, new evidence shows that the bacteria can be spread through lymph vessels, as well. The bacteria can invade the digestive system of affected animals from this route.

Associated with multiple syndromes in several species, S. equi ssp. zooepidemicus is an opportunistic pathogen, report Drs. Juan Corpa, Francisco Carvallo and Francisco Uzal. It can present as respiratory infections in young horses and uterine infections in older mares. Dogs affected with the pathogen may have fever, bleeding and buildup of fluid in the lungs; some may die from it.

The bacteria are zoonotic; it can also infect non-human primates, pigs, alpacas, camels and other ruminants. Most humans who become infected do so by contact with an infected horse. The infected human may have endocarditis, meningitis, thrombosis, aortic aneurysms or other conditions. It can also cause death. Because the disease is considered a budding zoonosis, additional research is warranted.

Read more at HorseTalk.

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