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Vet Microbiol. 2011 May 5;149(3-4):456-60. doi: 10.1016/j.vetmic.2010.11.024. Epub 2010 Nov 24.

Fatal epizootic equine herpesvirus 1 infections in new and unnatural hosts.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, University of Veterinary Medicine, Bünteweg 17, D-30559 Hannover, Germany.


In a zoological collection, four black bears (Ursus americanus) died from neurological disease within six months. Independently in a geographically different zoo, two Thomson's gazelles (Eudorcas thomsoni) and 18 guinea pigs (Cavia porcellus f. dom.) suffered from neurological disorders. In addition, guinea pigs showed abortions and stillbirths. All affected animals displayed a non suppurative meningoencephalitis with intranuclear inclusion bodies. Immunohistology demonstrated equine herpes virus antigen and ultrastructurally herpes viral particles were detected. Virus isolation and molecular analysis identified neurotropic equine herpesvirus (EHV) 1 strains in both epizootics. There is serological evidence of a possible virus transmission from other equids to the affected animals. Cross-species transmission of EHV-1 should be considered in the management of captive wild equids and ungulates, particularly with respect to fatal disease in irreplaceable species.

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