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Equine Herpes Virus Outbreak in Europe

  • 08 Mar 2021
  • 2 min read

Why in News

Recently, there has been an outbreak of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1) among horses in Europe.

  • So far seven countries have confirmed EHV-1 cases: Spain, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden and Qatar.

Key Points

  • About Equine Herpes Virus (EHV):
    • Equine Herpes Virus is a common DNA virus that occurs in horse populations worldwide.
    • EHV is a family of viruses which are named by numbers such as EHV 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.
      • There are more viruses in this family, but EHV 1, 3, and 4 pose the most serious health risks for domestic horses.
    • Health Risks:
      • EHV1 can cause manifestations of disease in horses, including respiratory disease, abortion and neonatal death.
      • This strain can also cause neurological problems, leading to paralysis and in some cases, death. Horses that contract this virus can develop a lack of coordination, weakness, loss of appetite and are unable to stand.
  • Spread of EHV-1 Virus:
    • It is contagious and spread by direct horse-to-horse contact via the respiratory tract through nasal secretions.
    • This virus can also be spread indirectly through contact with physical objects that are contaminated with the virus.
  • Equine Herpesvirus Myeloencephalopathy (EHM) is another name for the neurologic disease associated with Equine Herpes Virus (EHV) infections.
  • Precautions and Treatment:
    • As the infection has a high transmission rate, keeping a diseased horse in isolation is required.
    • Treatments may include anti-inflammatory drugs.


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