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Potential Transmission of Bacteria, Including Streptococcus equi spp., Between Stables via Visitors' Clothes
- Frosth, Sara, Pringle, John, Lewerin, Susanna Sternberg
- Journal of equine veterinary science 2018 v.71 pp. 71-74
- Streptococcus equi subsp. equi, bacteria, bacterial contamination, biosecurity, clothing, direct contact, disease transmission, fomites, hand washing, horses, professionals, risk
- Good biosecurity practices are important to avoid spread of disease within and between different animal facilities. However, such practices are not always applied in horse stables, which entail a risk of disease transmission. The aim of this study was to examine the risk of clothing such as fomites transmitting bacteria such as Streptococcus equi subsp. equi (S. equi) between horse establishments. This was achieved by assessing the survival of S. equi on experimentally contaminated clothes and investigating whether bacteria are transferred from horses to clothes of visitors during handling. Principal results from this study include that S. equi survived notably longer on T-shirt material than on jacket material, but for at least 24 hours regardless of material and that stable visitors' sleeves are readily contaminated by substantial amounts of bacteria when handling horses. In conclusion, the results from this work indicate that direct contact with horses can result in bacterial contamination of clothes and concurrent spread to other horses and horse establishments. Hence, it is advisable to change clothes between different stables and to offer stable-specific protective clothes such as a light jacket for professionals visiting the stable. In addition to washing hands, this is a simple and inexpensive routine that improves biosecurity.