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Serological surveillance of equine viral arteritis in the United Kingdom since the outbreak in 1993
  1. J. R. Newton, BVSc, MSc,MRCVS1,
  2. J. L. N. Wood, BVetMed,BSc, MSc, PhD, MRCVS1,
  3. F. J. Castillo-Olivares, BVSc, MSc, MRCVS1 and
  4. J. A. Mumford, BSc, PhD1
  1. 1 Centre for Preventive Medicine, Animal Health Trust, Lanwades Park, Kentford, Newmarket, Suffolk CB8 7UU


Serological analysis of blood samples submitted to the Animal Health Trust showed that during 1995, 185 of 9203 unvacdnated horses (2.0 per cent) tested positive for antibodies to equine arteritis virus (EAV), and that during 1996,46 of 8851 unvaccinated horses (0.52 per cent) tested positive. During both years thoroughbreds were the predominant breed tested and only a small proportion of these (<0.3 per cent), consisting predominantly of imported mares, were seropositive. In contrast, among standardbred horses, from which samples were actively solicited in 1995,84 of 454 (18.5 per cent) were seropositive. Among standardbreds there was a difference in prevalence between types of horses, with 3.7 per cent of racing horses, 25 per cent of non-radng horses and 41 per cent of stallions testing seropositive. Investigations of seropositive stallions identified during 1994 and 1995 demonstrated that clinically inapparent equine viral arteritis (EvA) had occurred previously in the uKC Of 50 seropositive stallions, nearly half were standardbreds and nearly all had been imported from either North America or the European Union. Whether 34 seropositive stallions were shedding virus in their semen was established either by test mating, by the serology of the covered mares, or by investigation by MAFF following the introduction of the Equine Viral Arteritis Order 1995. Nine of the stallions (26.5 per cent) were identified as presumptive shedders of EAV in semen and among specific breeds, viral shedding was identified in six of 15 (40 per cent) standardbreds and three of nine (33 per cent) warmbloods. In contrast with the outbreak of EVA in the UK in 1993, no signs of disease typical of EAV infection were reported during these investigations, even in mares test mated to stallions shedding the virus.

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