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Quantitative assessment of the risks of reducing the routine swabbing requirements for the detection of Taylorella equigenitalis

Wood, J.L.N. and Kelly, Louise Anne and Cardwell, J.M. and Park, A.W. (2005) Quantitative assessment of the risks of reducing the routine swabbing requirements for the detection of Taylorella equigenitalis. Veterinary Record, 157 (2). pp. 41-46. ISSN 0042-4900

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Abstract

The transmission of contagious equine metritis (CEM) on stud farms in Britain, Ireland and other European countries is prevented by following the recommendations in the Horserace Betting Levy Board’s Code of Practice on CEM. A quantitative risk assessment was undertaken to estimate the likely impact of removing the recommendation, from the 2002 code, to culture endometrial or cervical swabs microaerophilically for the presence of Taylorella equigenitalis, the causative organism. The scientific literature was reviewed for evidence about the anatomical distribution of T equigenitalis at different times after infection and it was found that, in chronically infected mares, the organism was detectable in the clitoral swabs of nearly 93 per cent, but in the cervical swabs of only 31 per cent. In contrast, in acutely infected mares, the organism was detectable in the clitoral swabs of nearly 69 per cent, but in the cervical swabs of 84 per cent. By using these results, a quantitative risk assessment was undertaken, assessing the likely effects of removing the recommendation that swabs from the cervix of low-risk mares should be cultured for T equigenitalis. The results were sensitive to the prevalence of the infection, but when it was low, there appeared to be few benefits in continuing to culture cervical swabs routinely. However, such swabs are vital when the disease is suspected.