Glanders is a highly contagious disease seen in horses. It is a sometimes fatal, incurable disease which causes ulcers in the respiratory tract and spreads through cuts, sneezing or contaminated food and equipment. The disease can infect humans as well. Brazilian officials sare investigating an outbreak glanders among horses stabled close to the site of next year's Olympic riding contests. There is alarm in the equestrian community over the appearance of the disease just when riding events start on Thursday, August 6, 2015, to test the Olympic preparations at Rio de Janeiro's Deodoro complex.
The Agriculture Ministry said, "At least one horse diagnosed with glanders and subsequently killed to stop the disease from spreading had spent several months at the Army Equestrian Complex in Deodoro, which is just a few hundred meters from the Olympic site."
However, officials insisted that there was no risk of the disease spreading to participants during this week's test events. The ministry said, "The installations where the riding tests for next year's Olympic Games will take place... are under a complete quarantine and rigorous bio-security measures. There are and won't be any health problems during the riding test events."
All the 584 horses in the army facility are being subjected to a series of tests with samples being sent for analysis at a laboratory in Germany. Since some of the horses from the army facility have been used at another riding center in the city, the approximately 300 horses kept there are also being tested and kept under strict quarantine.
In total 17 horses are diagnosed with glanders. They are being kept in Brazil's Sao Paulo state, awaiting further examination and extermination.