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CONTAGIOUS equine metritis (CEM) is a sexually transmitted disease of equids caused by Taylorella equigenitalis, a Gram-negative microaerophilic coccobacillus of the Taylorella genus. The acute form of the disease is characterised by mucopurulent vaginal discharge and variable degrees of vaginitis, endometritis and cervicitis, leading to temporary infertility (Timoney 2011). It is assumed that disease dissemination results from the transfer of carrier stallions and mares, but is also linked to artificial breeding (Schulman and others 2013).
After its discovery in 1977, CEM spread rapidly worldwide, causing international concern within the breeding horse industry (Matsuda and Moore 2003; Timoney 2011). It became one of the most regulated equine diseases and is a notifiable disease of the World Organisation for Animal Health. Despite this, many countries are still considered to have endemic status for CEM within their non-Thoroughbred populations (Schulman and others 2013), probably due to several factors, for example, the absence or the shortcomings of national monitoring, surveillance and reporting programmes, and lack of knowledge about the ecology of T equigenitalis.
In France, CEM was reported every year until February 2012, except in the Thoroughbred population which has been CEM free since 2006. No cases have been reported since then, although an increase in the prevalence of the disease was expected since the national regulations (with the exception of artificial breeding) were replaced in 2006 by a voluntary professional system. In this context, the aim of …