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IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
Pathogen/sTop of page Streptococcus equi subsp. equi
OverviewTop of page
Strangles is a highly contagious respiratory disease of horses, donkeys and mules caused by the bacterium Streptococcus equi subspecies equi (S. equi). It is one of the most prevalent equine infectious diseases worldwide, with significant welfare and economic costs (Harrington et al. 2002; Waller, 2013). Morbidity may be high, but mortality is usually low (Mallicote, 2015).
The classical disease is an upper respiratory infection characterised by pyrexia, coughing, profuse mucopurulent nasal discharge, enlargement of the lymph nodes draining the upper respiratory tract, and subsequent abscessation of these lymph nodes (Yelle, 1987). Rarely, this lymph node enlargement can cause inspiratory stridor and dyspnoea and it is this clinical feature that gave the disease its name. Treatment is dependent on the stage and severity of disease (Sweeney et al., 2005; Taylor and Wilson, 2006).
S. equi is an obligate equine pathogen, surviving for only short periods in the environment (Weese et al. 2009). Transmission occurs through oral and nasal routes directly and through contact with contaminated surfaces indirectly (Sweeney et al., 2005). Subclinical carriers that intermittently shed bacteria may act as sources of infection for naïve animals for up to several months or even years (Newton et al., 2000). The standard site of prolonged carriage of S. equi in these horses is the guttural pouches (Sweeney et al., 2005). Recognition and detection of this category of transmission is necessary for successful elimination of the disease from a farm (Waller and Jolley, 2007; Waller et al., 2011). New qPCR and iELISA diagnostic tests have replaced culture methodologies as the gold standard for the detection of infected animals (Waller, 2013). In the future, the ability to use modern vaccines alongside conventional biosecurity and screening procedures will be critical to the large-scale prevention of strangles (Waller, 2013).
Host AnimalsTop of page
DistributionTop of page
Strangles is the most frequently diagnosed infectious disease of horses worldwide (Harris et al., 2015).
Distribution TableTop of page
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.Last updated: 10 Jan 2020
ReferencesTop of page
Harris SR; Robinson C; Steward KF; Webb KS; Paillot R; Parkhill J; Holden MTG; Waller AS, 2015. Genome specialization and decay of the strangles pathogen, Streptococcus equi, is driven by persistent infection. Genome Research, 25(9):1360-1371. http://www.genome.org
Mallicote M, 2015. Update on Streptococcus equi subsp equi infections. Veterinary Clinics of North America, Equine Practice, 31(1):27-41. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0749073914001011
Newton JR; Verheyen K; Talbot NC; Timoney JF; Wood JLN; Lakhani KH; Chanter N, 2000. Control of strangles outbreaks by isolation of guttural pouch carriers identified using PCR and culture of Streptococcus equi. Equine Veterinary Journal, 32(6):515-526.
OIE Handistatus, 2002. World Animal Health Publication and Handistatus II (dataset for 2001). Paris, France: Office International des Epizooties.
OIE Handistatus, 2003. World Animal Health Publication and Handistatus II (dataset for 2002). Paris, France: Office International des Epizooties.
OIE Handistatus, 2004. World Animal Health Publication and Handistatus II (data set for 2003). Paris, France: Office International des Epizooties.
OIE Handistatus, 2005. World Animal Health Publication and Handistatus II (data set for 2004). Paris, France: Office International des Epizooties.
Sweeney C; Timoney JF; Newton JR; Hines MT, 2005. Review of Streptococcus equi infections in horses: guidelines for treatment, control, and prevention of strangles. In: Proceedings of the 51st Annual Convention of the American Association of Equine Practitioners, Seattle, Washington, USA, 3-7 December, 2005 [ed. by Brokken, T. D.]. Lexington, USA: American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP), 163-170.
Waller AS; Jolley KA, 2007. Getting a grip on strangles: recent progress towards improved diagnostics and vaccines. Veterinary Journal, 173(3):492-501. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/10900233
OIE Handistatus, 2005. World Animal Health Publication and Handistatus II (dataset for 2004)., Paris, France: Office International des Epizooties.
Distribution MapsTop of page
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