CEM Update From the USDA

Original Isolation (California) on Nov. 24, 1997, bacterial cultures were obtained from a mammoth donkey jack located in Sacramento County, Calif., in preparation to qualify his semen for export. Specimens were submitted to the microbiology laboratory at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis. On Dec. 12, 1997, the laboratory announced recovery of an organism whose characteristic bacterial colony growth and fluorescent antibody response resembled, but were not identical to, those of Taylorella equigenitalis, the causative agent of contagious equine metritis (CEM). On this preliminary information, the jack was placed under quarantine and additional specimens were forwarded from UC Davis to both the Kentucky Animal Disease Diagnostic Center in Lexington, Ky., and to the National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa, for further characterization. On Dec. 24, 1997 the NVSL confirmed isolation of a similar "CEM-like" organism. An emergency animal disease notification was prepared by Emergency Programs and forwarded to the Office Internationale des Epizooties (France). In order to attempt to locate a source of the organism and to determine the presence or absence of clinical disease attributable to the organism, an investigation of breeding contacts was immediately initiated.

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