Article Text

Surveillance programme for important equine infectious respiratory pathogens in the USA
  1. N. Pusterla, DVM, DACVIM1,
  2. P. H. Kass, DVM, PhD, DACVPM2,
  3. S. Mapes, MS1,
  4. C. Johnson1,
  5. D. C. Barnett, DVM3,
  6. W. Vaala, DVM, DACVIM3,
  7. C. Gutierrez, DVM3,
  8. R. McDaniel3,
  9. B. Whitehead3 and
  10. J. Manning, DVM3
  1. Department of Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA
  2. Department of Population Health and Reproduction, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA
  3. Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health, Roseland, NJ 07068, USA
  1. E-mail for correspondence npusterla{at}

The prevalence and epidemiology of important viral (equine influenza virus [EIV], equine herpesvirus type 1 [EHV-1] and EHV-4) and bacterial (Streptococcus equi subspecies equi) respiratory pathogens shed by horses presented to equine veterinarians with upper respiratory tract signs and/or acute febrile neurological disease were studied. Veterinarians from throughout the USA were enrolled in a surveillance programme and were asked to collect blood and nasal secretions from equine cases with acute infectious upper respiratory tract disease and/or acute onset of neurological disease. A questionnaire was used to collect information pertaining to each case and its clinical signs. Samples were tested by real-time PCR for the presence of EHV-1, EHV-4, EIV and S equi subspecies equi. A total of 761 horses, mules and donkeys were enrolled in the surveillance programme over a 24-month study period. In total, 201 (26.4 per cent) index cases tested PCR-positive for one or more of the four pathogens. The highest detection rate was for EHV-4 (82 cases), followed by EIV (60 cases), S equi subspecies equi (49 cases) and EHV-1 (23 cases). There were 15 horses with double infections and one horse with a triple infection. The detection rate by PCR for the different pathogens varied with season and with the age, breed, sex and use of the animal.

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  • Provenance not commissioned; externally peer reviewed

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