UNR Salmonella Outbreak

By: Kara Tsuboi
By: Kara Tsuboi

Roughly 50 horses board at the equestrian center. 20 belong to the University, 30 have private owners. On Monday, one of them came down with salmonella.

"There are two concerns: One, that it could spread to other animals and cause illness and or death. There is also potential for this to spread to people," says Joe Coli, a local veterinarian and the one working with the horses since the outbreak.

Now, Coli and his team are not taking any risks.

"We're trying to minimize any traffic in and out of the facility. We're not moving horses at this time to avoid cross-contamination."

Horses -- like people -- get the bacteria salmonella through the mouth.
In this case, most likely through contaminated feed, water, or even from the birds that share this facility.

What makes this bacteria particularly hard to beat is the fact that it's resistant to most anitbiotics.

"This is a very uncommon problem in our area. I've been in practice here for 25 years. I have not -- until this time -- seen a case of equine entiritis or bowel salmonella for all those years."

Coli says there isn't a whole lot the university could have done to prevent the outbreak... short of finding a new climate without heavy, wet winter storms.

"That's probably the biggest factor in the cause of this episode...is the moist, cool weather is the perfect environment for the organism to survive in."

In the meantime, Coli and his team will continue to test the other horses. Eventually, they'll disinfect and sterilize the entire facility to prevent any future outbreaks.


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