Article Text

Equine influenza in the United Kingdom in 1998
  1. J. R Newton, BVSc, MSc, MRCVS1,
  2. K. Verheyen, MRCVS1,
  3. J. L. N. Wood, BVetMed, BSc, MSc, PhD, MRCVS1,
  4. P. J. Yates, MSc, PhD1 and
  5. J. A. Mumford, BSc, PhD1
  1. 1 Centre for Preventive Medicine, Animal Health Trust, Lanwades Park, Kentford, Newmarket, Suffolk CB8 7UU


In 1998, equine influenza was diagnosed by serology and nucleoprotein enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay as the cause of acute respiratory disease in vaccinated and unvaccinated horses in the UK The signs were generally milder in vaccinated horses and completely susceptible animals showed the most severe signs, including pyrexia, inappetence, coughing, mucopurulent nasal discharge and secondary bacterial pneumonia. In a detailed investigation of an outbreak among 52 vaccinated thoroughbreds in a flat racing yard, more than 60 per cent of the horses seroconverted on the evidence of paired serum samples tested by single radial haemolysis (SRH). Preliminary sequencing and characterisation of an isolate from this outbreak indicated that it was an ‘American-like’ strain. In addition, in this outbreak there was a larger proportion of horses with preinfection SRH titres greater than 140 mm2 that subsequently seroconverted than in other recent outbreaks from which ‘European-like’ strains have been isolated. This result suggested that the cross-protectivity between circulating 'American-like' strains and the ‘European-like’ strains of A/equine-2 viruses present in current vaccines may be decreasing.

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