A conference on the dangerous horse disease, glanders, ends in Dubai today.
The meeting has drawn experts from nations where the bacterial disease is present, as well as experts from the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).
The aim of the conference is to increase international co-operation to eradicate the disease.
The disease occurs mainly in horses, mules, and donkeys, but can be contracted by other animals such as dogs, cats and goats.
It is caused by infection with the bacterium Burkholderia mallei, usually by eating contaminated food or water.
Symptoms include formation of nodular lesions in the lungs and ulceration of the mucous membranes in the upper respiratory tract. The acute form results in coughing, fever and the release of an infectious nasal discharge, followed by septicaemia and death within days.
In the chronic form, nasal and subcutaneous nodules develop, eventually ulcerating. Death can occur within months, while survivors act as carriers.
Glanders is endemic in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Central and South America. It has been eradicated from North America, Australia and most of Europe through surveillance and destruction of affected animals, and import restrictions.
The bacterium behind glanders is capable of infecting people.