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EQUINE coronavirus (ECoV) has recently been associated clinically and epidemiologically with emerging outbreaks of pyrogenic and enteric disease in adult horses in Japan and the USA (Oue and others 2011, 2013, Pusterla and others 2013). Due to the inconsistent development of enteric signs in horses infected with ECoV and in comparison with the closely related pneumoenteric bovine coronavirus (BCoV), one can only wonder if this virus has a tropism to non-enteric epithelial cells, such as the respiratory epithelium. Recently, a French group screened 395 faeces and 200 respiratory specimens submitted to a veterinary diagnostic laboratory for the presence of ECoV (Miszczak and others 2014). The samples had been collected from foals and adult horses suffering from mild respiratory or enteric disease. In that study, the researchers found ECoV in a total of 12 samples (11 faecal samples and one respiratory specimen). The ECoV quantitative PCR (qPCR)-positive respiratory sample had been collected from a nine-month-old foal suffering from respiratory infection. Therefore, the objective of the present study was to investigate the presence of ECoV in nasal secretions from horses with signs of fever and/or acute onset of upper respiratory tract infection submitted to a molecular diagnostic laboratory in the USA for the detection of common infectious respiratory pathogens.
The study population consisted of 2437 equids with acute onset of fever (T>101.5°F) and/or upper respiratory tract infection (depression, lethargy, nasal discharge, coughing) for which nasal secretions were submitted to the Real-time PCR Research and Diagnostics Core Facility, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California at Davis for the detection of common respiratory pathogens (equine influenza virus (EIV), equine herpesvirus type …