(redirected from glanderous)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Financial.


highly contagious disease of horses, mules, and donkeys, caused by the bacterium Actinobacillus mallei. Although it can be transmitted to humans, it is limited almost exclusively to handlers of equine animals. The disease causes death in infected animals or humans. Glanders has been virtually eradicated in the United States, Canada, and Great Britain but still occurs in Asia and South America. There are three primary sites of infection: the nasal membranes and upper respiratory tract; the lungs; and the skin. The bacteria cause lumps or nodules to form in the affected area. The nodules enlarge, form ulcers, and release pus that spreads the germs to other parts of the body. In the cutaneous form of the disease, craterlike ulcers form on the skin along the course of the lymph vessels of the extremities; this form of glanders is commonly called farcy. There is no effective treatment for glanders and the infected animal must be destroyed to prevent the spread of the disease.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



an infectious disease of humans and animals. The causative agent is the glanders bacillus (Actinobacillus mallei). The sources of infection are diseased domestic animals, especially those suffering from acute glanders. In humans, infection occurs when the causative agent penetrates injured skin or the mucosa of the respiratory or digestive tracts. A dark-red nodule forms at the site of penetration and subsequently ulcerates. The glanders bacillus is carried through the body by the blood and causes purulent lesions to develop in various organs. The incubation period is usually one to five days.

Glanders begins with chills, fever, and pain in the muscles and joints. Numerous pustules, which subsequently develop into ulcers, appear on the skin, especially on the face. They then develop in the internal organs. There are purulent discharges from the nose, and prune juice sputum is ejected from the body. Diagnosis is made through bacteriological and serologic methods or by testing with an allergen. Hospitalization is imperative. Glanders has been practically eliminated in the USSR and many other countries.


Rudnev, G. P. Antropozoonozy. Moscow, 1970.
Obshchaia i chastnaia epidemiologiia. Edited by I. I. Elkin, vol. 2. Moscow, 1973.


In animals. The development of glanders is usually chronic in animals and is characterized by the appearance of specific nodules in the lungs, on the mucosa of the respiratory tract, and on the skin. Horses, asses, mules, zebras, and other solidungulates are affected. Camels and predatory cats of the family Felidae, including lions, tigers, and leopards, are affected less frequently. Diseased animals discharge the causative agent of glanders into the environment through nasal discharge, sputum, or the pus from skin lesions.

The causative agent can be transmitted by infected fodder, water, or manure, by the objects used to care for animals, and by equine equipment. The spread of glanders is promoted by keeping animals in crowded conditions with insufficient ventilation and by irresponsibly caring for them.

Acute glanders is most often observed in asses, mules, and predators; it is sometimes also observed in horses. It is manifested by a high body temperature, acute depression, and hyperemia of the mucosa of the eyes and nose. In two to three days, soft, yellowish nodules appear on the affected mucosa; the nodules rapidly become ulcers with uneven edges. In two to four weeks the animal dies. In predatory animals the primary symptom of the disease is lameness of one of the posterior extremities. Subsequently, a mucopurulent discharge from the nose develops, as do ulcers on the skin of the extremities, the tail, and the ridge of the nose. Chronic glanders is observed mainly in horses and is characterized by the periodic rise in body temperature and by lung emphysema, emaciation, coughing, and nasal discharge. A diagnosis of glanders is based on epizootic, clinical, immunologic, serologic, and histopathological research; the principal diagnostic method is ophthalmic malleinization (ophthalmic reaction).

Preventive and control methods include checking horses for glanders before they are transported over long distances. New farm horses are quarantined for a month and subjected to clinical examination and malleinization. In the USSR, horses are examined for glanders twice a year. If glanders is discovered, the farm is quarantined and all diseased animals and those that get a positive reaction to glanders are killed; subsequently, the premises and stock are periodically disinfected.


Sosov, R. F. “Sap.” In Epizootologiia. Moscow, 1969.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


(veterinary medicine)
A bacterial disease of equines caused by Actinobacillus mallei ; involves the respiratory system, skin, and lymphatics. Also known as farcy.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.