Glanders is a disease that usually affects horses, donkeys, and mules. While the disease still occurs in certain parts of the world, no animal in the United States has gotten sick with glanders since the 1940s. Though not common, people have gotten glanders from sick animals. People who are in close contact with animals that have glanders are more likely to get the disease than those who are not.
In the past, the germs that cause glanders, the bacteria called Burkholderia mallei, have been used as a biological weapon during war. It is possible that these germs could be used again in a biological attack. A biological attack is the intentional release of germs that can sicken or kill people, livestock, or crops. Public health authorities study this disease to be prepared if a biological attack ever happens.