Rare horse disease eradicated in Florida

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - A rare horse disease has been
eradicated in Florida, again.

The nation had been considered free of equine piroplasmosis until August when a horse was euthanized in Manatee County, south of Tampa, after being diagnosed with the blood disorder that causes fever, swelling and often death.

Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson on Monday declared Florida disease-free after 201 horses were tested and 25 sites were quarantined.

In all, 20 horses were infected. They were either euthanized or sent out of state to a federal research facility for study.

Officials suspect the disease was spread through contaminated needles or blood transfusions. It also can be transmitted by certain ticks, but none could be found in Florida.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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