03/23/2005 1:00AM

Strangles found in Florida

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Seven horses from trainer Dale Romans's barn at Palm Meadows have tested positive for the disease strangles, Gulfstream Park president Scott Savin said Wednesday. Strangles is a highly contagious disease caused by a bacteria, and symptoms include fever, runny nose, and swollen glands. In extreme cases it can prove fatal.

Some horses from the Romans stable also tested positive for the disease earlier this month at the Trackside training center in Louisville, Ky. Romans is currently in Dubai, where he is scheduled to run Roses in May on Saturday in the Dubai World Cup.

Savin said horses in the barn where the disease was found have been quarantined.

"No horse from that barn will be allowed to go to the track to train until we have 100 percent conclusive proof that every horse in the barn has tested negative for the disease," Savin said.

Tests for strangles were conducted earlier this week after some horses showed signs of the disease. Gulfstream officials began taking precautions Monday to stop the disease from spreading, including segregating horses shipping in and disinfecting the receiving barn.

Gulfstream's track veterinarian, Dr. Mary Scollay, said it could take up to several weeks until the horses are released from quarantine, but that uninfected horses in Florida are "at minimum risk."