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J Vet Intern Med. 2006 May-Jun;20(3):601-7.

Equine herpesvirus type 1-associated myeloencephalopathy in The Netherlands: a four-year retrospective study (1999-2003).

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Department of Equine Sciences, Division of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, The Netherlands.


Equine herpesvirus type 1(EHV-1)-associated myeloencephalopathy (EHM) is a rare disease affecting the central nervous system and, in particular, the spinal cord of horses. Epidemiologic data are limited, and usually are restricted to the description of a single outbreak. During an observational period of 4 years, we evaluated 9 outbreaks of EHM in The Netherlands. A risk factor analysis was done on the data from 6 outbreaks. Findings were: regular appearance of EHM outbreaks in The Netherlands (2-3/y); strong association of EHM with season; and risk factors, such as breed, sex, age, and fever. Female horses, aged horses, and specific breeds were at greater risk to develop severe neurologic disease. Other breeds and horses <3 years old were never observed to suffer from EHM during these outbreaks. It was concluded that breed variation, in addition to the presence of a specific EHV-1 strain, and environmental factors influence an outbreak of EHM on a premise.

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