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Viruses associated with outbreaks of equine respiratory disease in New Zealand






New Zealand Veterinary Journal 50(4): 132-139

Viruses associated with outbreaks of equine respiratory disease in New Zealand

This study was conducted to identify viruses associated with respiratory disease in young horses in New Zealand. Nasal swabs and blood samples were collected from 45 foals or horses from 5 separate outbreaks of respiratory disease that occurred in New Zealand in 1996, and from 37 yearlings at the time of the annual yearling sales in January that same year. Virus isolation from nasal swabs and peripheral blood leukocytes (PBL) was undertaken and serum samples were tested for antibodies against equine herpesviruses (EHV-1, EHV-2, EHV-4 and EHV-5), equine rhinitis-A virus (ERAV), equine rhinitis-B virus (ERBV), equine adenovirus 1 (EAdV-1), equine arteritis virus (EAV), reovirus 3, and parainfluenza virus type 3 (PIV3). Viruses were isolated from 24 of the 94 (26%) nasal swab samples and from 77 of the 80 (96%) PBL samples collected from both healthy horses and horses showing clinical signs of respiratory disease. All isolates were identified as EHV-2, EHV-4, EHV-5, or untyped EHV. Of the horses and foals tested, 59 out of 82 (72%) were positive for EHV-1 and/or EHV-4 serum neutralizing (SN) antibody on at least one sampling occasion, 52 (63%) for EHV-1-specific antibody tested by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), 10 (13%) for ERAV SN antibody, 60 (75%) for ERBV SN antibody, and 42 (53%) for haemagglutination inhibition (HI) antibody to EAdV-1. None of the 64 serum samples tested were positive for antibodies to EAV, reovirus 3 or PIV3. Evidence of infection with all viruses tested was detected in both healthy horses and in horses showing clinical signs of respiratory disease. Recent EHV-2 infection was associated with the development of signs of respiratory disease among yearlings [relative risk (RR)=2.67, 95% CI=1.59-4.47, p=0.017]. Of the equine respiratory viruses detected in horses in New Zealand during this study, EHV-2 was most likely to be associated with respiratory disease. However, factors other than viral infection are probably important in the development of clinical signs of disease.

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Accession: 004005429

PMID: 16032259

DOI: 10.1080/00480169.2002.36299



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