Glanders on the rise in animals


eMediNexus    06 January 2018

Glanders is a highly infectious and often fatal zoonotic disease primarily affecting horses, donkeys and mules.


It is a notifiable disease of equines caused by Gram-negative bacterium, Burkholderia mallei.


It is a rare disease in humans with cases having occurred in veterinarians, other people working closely with horses, and laboratory workers handling the organism. In addition to animals with clinical disease, asymptomatically infected animals also pose risk to humans. Humans are accidental hosts and human to human transmission is rare.


In 2014-15 three diseases was noted in Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. In 2015-16 It was seen in five states Jammu and Kashmir; Punjab; Uttar Pradesh; Uttarakhand and Gujrat but in 2016-17 it is seen in nine states: Haryana; Himachal Pradesh;


Jammu and Kashmir; Punjab; Uttar Pradesh; Uttarakhand; Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.


Glanders has traditionally been clinically categorized into nasal, pulmonary and cutaneous forms based on the most commonly affected organ systems in equines. Glanders can have nasal, pulmonary and cutaneous forms.


B. mallei is transmitted to humans through contact with tissues or body fluids of infected animals. The bacteria enter the body through cuts or abrasions in the skin and through mucosal surfaces such as the conjunctiva and nose. The infection may occur by inhaling infected aerosol dust. Animal-to-human and human-to-human transmission of glanders is rare.


Despite many reported cases of the disease in equines, no human case of glanders has been reported in India till date.


The clinical symptoms of glanders in humans are non- specific therefore accurate diagnosis and treatment is difficult. The symptoms in humans include low- grade fever and chills, malaise, fatigue, myalgias, backache, headache, rigors, chest pain and lymphadenopathy.

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