Contagious Equine Metritis

  • Contagious Equine Metritis, a disease of horses notifiable in the UK, has been identified in a mare stabled in Gloucestershire. A second mare at the stables is currently under investigation.
  • CEM is a venereal infection that causes a discharge from the vulva, resulting from inflammation of the uterus. Infected horses can be treated with antibiotics and recover.
  • CEM cannot be transmitted to humans.
  • The infection is easily controlled and movement restrictions on the horse and in-contacts have been put in place.
  • It is a sexually transmitted equine disease. However, indirect transmission can also occur for example through contaminated breeding equipment.
  • The spread of infection is controlled by preventing the mating of infected horses, treating the infection, re-testing several times to check the infection has cleared up before resuming mating, and applying strict hygiene measures when handling the horses involved.
  • Horses are tested before they are exported so there will be limited trade implications.
  • Further details about Contagious Equine Metritis can be found at http://archive.defra.gov.uk/foodfarm/farmanimal/diseases/atoz/cem/index.htm
  • The Horse Racing Betting Levy Board has also produced a Codes of Practice with Defra on preventing disease http://codes.hblb.org.uk/