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Equine Vet J. 2003 Sep;35(6):596-600.

Lateral transmission of equine arteritis virus among Lipizzaner stallions in South Africa.

Author information

  • 1Equine Research Centre, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Onderstepoort, 0110, Republic of South Africa.

Abstract

REASONS FOR PERFORMING STUDY:

A serological study conducted in 1995 revealed that 7 stallions at the Lipizzaner Centre, Gauteng, South Africa, were seropositive for antibody to equine arteritis virus (EAV). A Lipizzaner stallion imported into South Africa from Yugoslavia in 1981 had previously (1988) been confirmed to be an EAV carrier. Despite being placed under life-long breeding quarantine, EAV had been transmitted between stallions at the Lipizzaner Centre.

OBJECTIVES:

To investigate the phylogenetic relationships between the strain of EAV shed in the semen of the original carrier stallion and strains recovered from the semen of 5 other stallions; and to investigate the means whereby lateral transmission of EAV occurred among 7 in-contact, nonbreeding stallions at the Centre.

METHODS:

EAV was isolated from semen collected from the seropositive stallions using RK-13 cells. Viral RNA was reverse transcribed and amplified by polymerase chain reaction using ORF 5-specific primers, subjected to sequence and phylogenetic analysis.

RESULTS:

Phylogenetic analysis of strains of EAV recovered from the semen of 6 persistently infected stallions confirmed that all viruses were closely related and probably derived from a common ancestor, i.e. the stallion imported from Yugoslavia. Lateral transmission subsequently occurred among 7 in-contact, nonbreeding stallions at the Centre. It is speculated that these stallions may have been exposed to virus from bedding or fomites contaminated with semen.

CONCLUSIONS:

These data confirm that lateral transmission of EAV can occur from shedding stallions to susceptible, in-contact horses, including other stallions, which may become persistently infected with the virus.

POTENTIAL RELEVANCE:

The findings are consistent with lateral spread of a single, unique strain of EAV among a group; and suggest that transmission of EAV may be initiated by infection of one or more stallions with virus on bedding or other fomites contaminated with EAV- infected semen.

PMID:
14515961
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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