Atypical Myopathy Cases Discovered in Europe

Atypical myopathy has sickened 47 horses in an ongoing spring outbreak in Europe, according to an alert group led by Belgian researchers.

Reports of new cases continue to stream into the data being collected by the Atypical Myopathy Alert Group (AMAG) at the University of Liége, according to Gaby van Galen, DVM, MSc, Dipl. ECEIM, one of the group's two primary researchers.

France has reported the majority of cases at 34, while Germany, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Belgium, and Sweden have reported fewer than five each. Survival statistics have not yet been released. As the disease is not reportable, these figures are probably underestimated, van Galen said.

Symptoms of atypical myopathy include severe generalized weakness and stiffness, often leading to death. Urine becomes coffee-colored, and blood workups show significant increases in plasma levels of creatine kinase.

The last European epidemic of atypical myopathy ended in January 2010 with a record number of 371 reported cases and a survival rate of 24%.

Horse owners in affected areas are urged to take "utmost caution" in preventing the disease by following the measures described on the AMAG website.

About the Author

Christa Lesté-Lasserre, MA

Christa Lesté-Lasserre is a freelance writer based in France. A native of Dallas, Texas, Lesté-Lasserre grew up riding Quarter Horses, Appaloosas, and Shetland Ponies. She holds a master’s degree in English, specializing in creative writing, from the University of Mississippi in Oxford and earned a bachelor's in journalism and creative writing with a minor in sciences from Baylor University in Waco, Texas. She currently keeps her two Trakehners at home near Paris. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

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