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First report of Borna disease virus antibodies in breeding and sport horses in Spain.
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  • Fátima Cruz-López,
  • Susanne Schmid,
  • Eliazar Camino,
  • Friedemann Weber,
  • Paloma Fores,
  • Sergio Gonzalez,
  • Lucia de Juan,
  • Matthias König
Fátima Cruz-López
Universidad Complutense de Madrid
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Susanne Schmid
Justus Liebig Universitat Giessen
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Eliazar Camino
Universidad Complutense de Madrid
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Friedemann Weber
Justus Liebig Universitat Giessen
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Paloma Fores
Facultad de Veterinaria, Universidad Complutense
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Sergio Gonzalez
Universidad Complutense de Madrid
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Lucia de Juan
Universidad Complutense de Madrid
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Matthias König
Justus Liebig Universitat Giessen
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Abstract

Borna disease virus (BoDV) can cause neurological disease in several vertebrate species, especially in horses and sheep. The recent cases of fatal encephalitis caused by BoDV in humans have raised concern regarding the zoonotic character of this virus. BoDV infection in horses is endemic in Central Europe, whereas in Spain the disease is regarded as an exotic disease in horses and serological investigations in these animals have never been performed. The aim of this study was to investigate the exposure to BoDV in breeding and sport horses in Spain and to determine risk factors for the transmission of the virus. Serum samples from 495 horses (260 sport horses and 235 Spanish Purebred breeding horses) were tested by an Indirect Fluorescence Antibody Test (IFAT). From the SP breeding horses we examined factors putatively associated with seropositivity to BoDV. A total of 164 horses (33.1%; 95% CI 29.0-37.3) showed antibodies against BoDV. Factors associated with BoDV seropositivity in the SP breeding horses were climate, age and the time of the year when the horses were sampled. This is the first report on the presence of BoDV antibodies in apparently asymptomatic breeding and sport horses in Spain. Our results demonstrate the need for BoDV surveillance in horses and possible reservoir hosts in this country, and suggests that BoDV should be included in the differential diagnosis of equine and human cases of encephalitis.

Peer review status:IN REVISION

16 May 2020Submitted to Transboundary and Emerging Diseases
16 May 2020Assigned to Editor
16 May 2020Submission Checks Completed
18 May 2020Reviewer(s) Assigned
07 Jun 2020Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
07 Jun 2020Editorial Decision: Revise Major