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Seroprevalence and factors associated with equine herpesvirus type 1 and 4 in Spanish Purebred horses in Spain
  1. F. Cruz, DVM, MSc, MPhil, PhD1,
  2. P. Fores, DVM, PhD2,
  3. L. Mughini-Gras, DVM, PhD3,
  4. J. Ireland, BVMS, PhD, Cert AVP, MRCVS4,
  5. M. A. Moreno, DVM, PhD1,5 and
  6. J. R. Newton, BVSc, MSc, PhD, DLSHTM, DipECVPH, FRCVS4
  1. 1VISAVET Health Surveillance Centre, Universidad Complutense, Madrid, Spain
  2. 2Departamento de Medicina y Cirugía Animal, Facultad de Veterinaria, Universidad Complutense, Madrid, Spain
  3. 3National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Centre for Infectious Disease Control (CIb), Bilthoven, The Netherlands
  4. 4Centre for Preventive Medicine, Animal Health Trust, Lanwades Park, Kentford, Newmarket, Suffolk, UK
  5. 5Departamento de Sanidad Animal, Facultad de Veterinaria, Universidad Complutense, Madrid, Spain
  1. E-mail for correspondence: fatimacr{at}


Equine herpesvirus type 1 (EHV-1) and type 4 (EHV-4) have a worldwide distribution and cause respiratory disease, abortion, neonatal death and myeloencephalopathy in susceptible horses. Given the scarcity of serological EHV-1/EHV-4 data in Spain, the objective of this cross-sectional study was to estimate the seroprevalence of EHV-1/EHV-4 and to identify potential horse-level and stud farm-level factors associated with EHV-1/EHV-4 in the breeding Spanish Purebred (SP) horse population in central Spain. Serum samples from 334 SP unvaccinated horses, collected between September 2011 and November 2013 at 30 stud farms, were tested using a commercially available EHV-1/EHV-4 antibody ELISA and seroneutralisation as the World Organisation for Animal Health reference confirmation test. Data on factors putatively associated with seropositivity to EHV-1/EHV-4 were collected via a questionnaire and examined using logistic regression analysis. EHV-1/EHV-4 seroprevalence in the SP breeding population in central Spain, standardised for the sex distribution of the reference horse population, was 53.9 per cent (95 per cent confidence interval 44.0 per cent to 63.8 per cent). Increasing age, southern location of the stud farm, temperate climate during the summer, and a smaller surface area used for breeding activities in the farm were associated with increased odds for EHV-1/EHV-4 seropositivity, whereas EHV-1/EHV-4 vaccination of other resident horses and separation of breeding mares from youngsters were protective factors.

  • EHV-1
  • EHV-4
  • horse
  • seroprevalence
  • Spain
  • risk factors
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