Investigation of an EHV-1 outbreak in the united states caused by a new H752 genotype

Nicola Pusterla, Samantha Barnum, Julia Miller, Sarah Varnell, Barbara Dallap-Schaer, Helen Aceto, Aliza Simeone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Here we report on an EHV-1 outbreak investigation caused by a novel genotype H752 (histidine in amino acid position 752 of the ORF 30 gene). The outbreak involved 31 performance horses. Horses were monitored over a period of 35 days for clinical signs, therapeutic outcome and qPCR results of EHV-1 in blood and nasal secretions. The morbidity of the EHV-1 outbreak was 84% with 26 clinically infected horses displaying fever and less frequently anorexia and distal limb edema. Four horses showed mild transient neurological deficits. Clinically diseased horses experienced high viral load of EHV-1 in blood and/or nasal secretions via qPCR, while subclinically infected horses had detectable EHV-1 mainly in nasal secretions. The majority of infected horses showed a rise in antibody titers to EHV-1 during the outbreak. All 31 horses were treated with valacyclovir, while clinically infected horses further received flunixin meglumine and sodium heparin. This investigation highlights various relevant aspects of an EHV-1 outbreak caused by a new H752 genotype: (i) importance of early detection of EHV-1 infection; (ii) diagnostic challenge to assess H752 genotype; (iii) apparent benefit of valacyclovir use in the early stage of the outbreak; and (iv) weekly testing of blood and nasal secretions by qPCR in order to monitor individual infection status and lift quarantine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number747
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • EHV-1
  • H
  • Horses
  • New genotype
  • Outbreak

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Molecular Biology
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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