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Research article2019Peer reviewed

Long term silent carriers of Streptococcus equi ssp. equi following strangles; carrier detection related to sampling site of collection and culture versus qPCR

Pringle, J.; Venner, M.; Tscheschlok, L.; Bachi, L.; Riihimaki, M.


After strangles outbreaks, Streptococcus equi ssp. equi (S. equi) can persist in clinically normal silent carriers for months to years. Two naturally occurring outbreaks of strangles with 53 and 100% morbidity, respectively, were followed longitudinally to assess occurrence of carrier state and optimal detection methods Outbreak A involved 98 yearling warmbloods, and outbreak B 38 mature Icelandic horses. Fully recovered horses were sampled at least 6 months after index cases using nasal swabs (one sampling occasion only) nasopharyngeal lavage and guttural pouch visualisation and lavages for culture and qPCR to S. equi. Any horse with at least a single sample positive was deemed a carrier. Descriptive statistics and sensitivity and negative predictive values were calculated. Comparisons were made with McNemars and Fishers exact tests.Carrier rates in outbreak A were 3% based on culture and 15% based on qPCR and for outbreak B 13% based on culture and 37% based on qPCR. All culture positives were also qPCR positive. One carrier culture negative sampled after an additional 8 months was culture positive to S. equi, indicating that qPCR positives should be suspected to carry live bacteria. Findings indicate that reliance on guttural pouch sampling and appearance does not capture all silent carriers. All culture positives were identified by qPCR and even horses positive by qPCR but culture negative should be suspected carriers of live bacteria. (C) 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Carrier state; Endoscopy; Guttural pouch; Nasal lavage; Nasal swab

Published in

Veterinary Journal
2019, Volume: 246, pages: 66-70