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Wisconsin Ag News Headlines
Horse Quarantined for CEM Has Officially Tested Positive
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 01/14/2009

Less than two weeks after 17 horses on 11 different farms in Wisconsin were quarantined for being exposed to a highly contagious disease that can cause reproductive problems in mares, a stallion has officially tested positive for the illness. State animal health officials confirmed on Tuesday that the Outagamie County animal has contracted contagious equine metritis, or CEM.

The 13-year-old Friesian has been quarantined since January 5 when the state learned he had been at a Wisconsin artificial insemination center at the same time as an infected stallion from Kentucky. State and federal animal health personnel will examine the stallion's breeding records and movement history to trace what mares may have been exposed via natural breeding or artificial insemination, and what stallions may have been exposed via shared artificial insemination equipment. Any exposed animals, in Wisconsin or other states, will be quarantined for testing.

Meanwhile, State Veterinarian Dr. Robert Ehlenfeldt stressed that there is no human health risk and no risk to horses in the general population.

"There is no reason for horse owners to get horses tested on their own," Dr. Ehlenfeldt said. "If our investigation shows that a horse has been exposed, we will notify the owner."

Nationwide, the CEM investigation involves at least 272 horses in 38 states. The outbreak began in mid-December, when a quarter horse stallion on a Kentucky farm tested positive during routine testing for international semen shipment. The initial disease trace found that three more stallions in Kentucky and three in Indiana that had spent time on the original farm were also CEM-positive. The continuing trace has found 23 more stallions in 10 states that had been exposed, and 242 mares in 36 states.

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