The Deodoro Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where the 2016 Olympic equestrian events will be held, had a glanders scare in April that was announced on July 31.
The horses typically stabled at the Army Equestrian Complex, also called the Olympic Equestrian Centre, in Deodoro were relocated for the mandatory property quarantine this spring as one of the biosecurity measures in place for the Olympic Games next year. A horse that had been stabled at the facility from February through November 2014 tested positive for glanders this April and was immediately euthanized.
A second horse was also later diagnosed, with a third horse given an inconclusive diagnosis. Both were quarantined for additional testing in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
The Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture stated that there is no risk to horses who will be competing in this week’s Olympic Games test event, Aquece Rio, which exclusively features Brazilian horses, or at the Olympics next summer, since the venue has been empty since April. A representative from the ministry will host an information session on Aug. 7, at the test event, regarding biosecurity and the glanders cases.
MAPA is also in the process of testing all 584 horses who were once housed at the Deodoro Military Complex, and the results of those tests will be available in October.
“The FEI has been working closely with both the Rio 2016 organizing committee and with MAPA on the protocols that have been put in place to safeguard the horses competing at the Olympic test event. We are confident that everything is being handled correctly, and that Rio 2016 will run a successful Olympic equestrian test event,” said an FEI Spokesperson. “The event is going well as planned with the horse inspection taking place today [Aug. 6], followed by dressage tomorrow, cross-country on Saturday, and jumping on Sunday.”
Additional biosecurity measures that have been put into effect include the regionalization of the Olympic venue, the Rio airport and the corridor connecting them. These will be in place from the start of Aquece Rio until the end of the Olympic Games in 2016.
Glanders is a bacterial infection, caused by Burkholderia mallei, that results in lung lesions and ulcers in the respiratory tract and nasal passages. Given the ease with which the disease spreads and its high mortality rate, diagnosed horses are typically euthanized. The disease has been eradicated in North America.