Glanders - a comprehensive review.
Since 1990, the number of glanders outbreaks in race, military and pleasure horses in Asia and South America is steadily increasing. Glanders, which is eradicated in Western Europe, Australia and Northern America, is currently considered a re-emerging disease. Consequently, the disease may be introduced into glanders-free regions by subclinical carriers at any time. The causative agent of glanders, Burkholderia mallei, is highly contagious and leads to chronic disease in horses, whereas in donkeys and mules the disease is acute and often fatal. The occurrence of the disease leads to international trading restrictions and infected animals immediately have to be culled and safely disposed of. In humans, B. mallei infection results in a severe clinical course and is fatal without appropriate therapy. Its pathogenicity makes B. mallei a potential biological agent that may be used in bioterrorist attacks. Due to the eradication of glanders in the second half of the last century, veterinarians in western European countries are no longer familiar with its clinical presentation in solipeds. This review describes the epidemiology, clinical signs, pathology and the current eradication strategy of this zoonosis. Pictures of imported endurance horses infected with glanders taken during an eradication campaign in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in 2004, illustrate the most typical clinical findings.