Dourine is a parasitic venereal disease caused by the protozoan Trypanosoma equiperdum. Also dubbed “covering disease,” it has been described as a neglected-horse disease in the past, but scientists believe that the condition warrants greater attention, including better diagnostics to discover it and better drugs to treat it, mostly because of the increasing international movement of horses.
Dourine, along with surra and nagana, are transmitted by specific flies or sexually. These diseases have caused economic losses in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America, and there is no vaccine available. Chemotherapy is able to remove the parasites from the blood, but many of the organisms live outside the vascular system; most evidence shows that the chemo drugs are ineffective in the neurologic stage of the disease.
Dr. Philippe Büscher wrote that many countries that have this disease are reluctant to notify the World Organization for Animal Health. Büscher and her team, Drs. Mary Isabel Gonzatti, Laurent Hébert, Noboru Inoue, Ilaria Pascucci, Achim Schnaufer, Keisuke Suganuma, Louis Touratier and Nick Van Reet, are concerned about the travel of infected animals to non-endemic countries. They noted that the lack of control of the disease is caused by inability of drugs to cure neurologic stage of infections, limitations of current diagnostics, lack of vaccines and inconsistent definitions of the diseases. The researchers are calling for studies that can determine accurate diagnostics and drugs to work both curatively and prophylactically.
Read the study here.
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