Study: Shared Water Sources Contribute To EHV Transmission

A study has found that equine herpesviruses are able to replicate in freshwater sources in the wild and remain infectious to spread among animals, especially during drought conditions. In the wild, many species of animal will congregate around freshwater sources to drink, potentially allowing for virus transmission between species.

Drs. Anisha Dayaram, Peter Seeber, Alexandre Courtiol, Sanatana Soilemetzidou, Kyriakos Tsangaras, Mathias Franz, Gayle McEwen, Walid Azab, Petra Kaczensky, Jörg Melzheimer, Marion East, Oyunsaikhan Ganbaatar, Christian Walzer, Nikolaus Osterrieder and Alex Greenwood sampled water holes in areas of Africa and Mongolia that had significant dry seasons. They determined that EHV can remain stable and infectious in water under these conditions.

The team reported that animals forced to congregate around water supplies become stressed. Stressed equids can shed viruses like EHV, which enter the water supply when the animal drinks. Rhinos have tested positive for EHV when they share watering holes with zebras in the wild.

The EHVs found in Africa and Mongolia are nearly identical to those found in domestic horses, suggesting EHVs have changed very little over time. The research team suggests that additional research be done to determine other viruses that may use water as a vector to spread among animals.

Read more at HorseTalk.

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