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Contagious equine metritis

In the UK, isolation of the CEMO is notifiable by law. This is a statutory requirement under the Infectious Diseases of Horses Order 1987 and any positive samples must be reported by the testing laboratory to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) via the local Field Service office of the Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA). See Appendix 1 for Field Service Offices contact information. In confirmed cases, Defra asks, initially, that the breeders and veterinary surgeons involved comply with this Code of Practice as a means of controlling the spread of the disease.

If an assessment by Defra concludes that voluntary compliance is not sufficient to control the disease, it may serve Statutory Notices on the affected premises, declaring them an infected place and imposing mandatory requirements, including:

  • taking samples or obtaining information to establish the source and extent of disease;
  • prohibiting or controlling movement of any horse, carcase or other item;
  • prohibiting the breeding activities of any implicated horses;
  • disinfection or destruction of infected articles or materials;
  • cleansing and disinfection of premises and vehicles.

In the event of statutory powers being invoked, Defra would nominate the laboratories to undertake the testing of all samples required by the subsequent investigation.

Failure to comply with Statutory Notices is an offence under the Animal Health Act 1981 and may lead to prosecution.

It is advisable for owners, or a person authorised to act on their behalf, to inform the national breeders’ association if CEMO is isolated.

Klebsiella pneumoniae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa

In the UK, isolation of K. pneumoniae or P. aeruginosa is not notifiable by law. However, if infection occurs in stallions, it is advisable for the owner, or a person authorised to act on their behalf, to inform the national breeders’ association.