In July 1989 influenza A/equine-2 (H3N8) was isolated from a nasopharyngeal swab taken from a non-thoroughbred horse exhibiting acute clinical respiratory disease. This was the first isolation of equine influenza virus in the United Kingdom since 1981. Subsequent investigations of acute respiratory disease in horses indicated that the infection was dispersed throughout the UK. However, unlike the previous epidemic of 1979, the first horses from which the virus was isolated had been vaccinated. This outbreak of influenza provided an opportunity to evaluate an antigen capture ELISA, directed against the influenza virus nucleoprotein, as a rapid method for detecting virus in the nasopharyngeal secretions of naturally infected horses.
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