Strangles infection with Streptococcus equi sp. equi in the horse can spread rapidly through an equine facility. Biosecurity procedures and intense cleaning and disinfection have the potential to make all the difference in containing disease.
A Swedish study [Ryden, A.; Pringle, J.; Fernström, L.-L.; Svonni, E.; Riihimäki, M. Effectiveness of Cleaning And Sanitation Of Stable Environment and Riding Equipment Following Contamination with Streptococcus equi, Equine Veterinary Journal, Aug. 31, 201] set out to determine the effectiveness of sanitation and sterilization of the environment and horse and rider equipment following an outbreak.
Using a suspension of S. equi, the following areas and equipment were inoculated: wooden stable interior, concrete floor, plastic water buckets, leather halters, polyester-webbed halters and leather gloves.
The results of their study were informative:
- S. equi survived poorly on leather halters—all were culture negative after cleaning and sanitation.
- Survival of S. equi persisted on most polyester-webbed halters (6/8) despite cleaning and sanitation.
- Cleaning of polyester-webbed halters in a washing machine at 400 degrees C (104 degrees F) did not control contamination, and culture-positive results were found in 14/16 halters.
- Cleaning of polyester-webbed halters in a washing machine at 600 degrees C (140 degrees F) achieved decontamination and resulted in negative cultures for all halters.
This brings to light the fact that the type of material contaminated has a large effect on persistence or elimination of Strep equi infection, even in the face of cleaning and disinfection.