Between January 1978 and August 1982 the streptomycin resistant strain of the contagious equine metritis organism (CEMO) was isolated from 15 colts and two fillies in the United Kingdom and Ireland. A first season stallion was also suspected of having initiated an outbreak of contagious equine metritis (CEM) at the beginning of the 1982 breeding season. A detailed investigation of the breeding history of the dams and sires of each positive individual indicated that in a number of cases the CEMO was acquired either in utero or following transmission at the time of parturition. In several other cases the retrospective evidence suggested that the genital tract of colt foals became contaminated with vaginal discharge from mares showing clinical signs of the disease during the nursing period. The findings emphasise the need for a thorough examination of the genital tract of colts and fillies as recommended in the code of practice for the control of CEM when they begin their breeding career.
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