Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Bahrain: Disease Identified as Glanders

Gulf-daily-news.com

By MANDEEP SINGH , Posted on » Monday, April 26, 2010

THE Cabinet yesterday allocated BD150,000 to combat the disease.

It also instructed the Municipalities and Agriculture Ministry to carry out the preventive plan.

"The decision reflects the government's keenness to protect human health, the environment and animals," Cabinet Affairs Minister Shaikh Ahmed bin Ateyatala Al Khalifa said.

A MYSTERY illness, which forced vets to put down eight horses in three weeks, has been identified as the highly contagious and potentially fatal bacterial infection glanders, or equina, that can be passed on to humans.

However, Bahrain's top vet yesterday allayed fears of a serious outbreak, saying authorities were already acting on the new information and said it could be "easily" managed.

Municipalities and Agriculture Ministry livestock director Dr Salman Abdul Nabi said every horse in the country was being examined for signs of the illness.

He added that blood samples from of horses, suspected of either having the illness or coming into contact with infected animals, were currently being analysed by specialists in the UAE.

"We have sent samples from nearly 400 horses to a specialist laboratory in the UAE and the 10 results we have got so far give us the all-clear," he told the GDN.

"We now know we can manage this quite easily and are taking appropriate action."

However, he stressed that a ban on moving horses between stables or taking part in competitions still existed to avoid the bacteria spreading.

He revealed around a dozen horses currently had symptoms of the infection, but said some were already showing signs of recovery.

Glanders is a highly contagious disease in horses, horses, mules and donkeys, but it can be passed on to humans who have direct contact with infected animals or contaminated objects.

The painful respiratory infection can cause skin lesions and signs include fever, chills, muscle aches and chest pain, but it can also lead to pneumonia and death without treatment.

Infection can also occur in dogs, cats, goats, camels, hamsters and guinea pigs.