Thursday, October 27, 2011

Progress towards a vaccine against deadly foal pneumonia

 Rhodococcus equi bacteria can cause “rattles”, a potentially lethal disease in foals which is characterized by chronic broncho-pneumonia with abscesses in the lungs. Other forms of the disease occur including infection of the intestine and lymph nodes.

Affected animals show signs of fever, cough, rapid breathing, and nasal discharge. The disease tends to develop insidiously. Few signs may be apparent until the disease is quite advanced. The organism is often found in soil, particularly in dry dusty conditions.

Treatment usually requires an extended course of antibiotics and/or immune plasma. If the infection is diagnosed too late, antibiotics are often no longer sufficient to cure the disease, and death may occur within weeks.

Despite the severity of this disease, no vaccine against it is yet available. However, researchers in The Netherlands have now developed a promising candidate vaccine.


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