The objective of the present case-control study was to determine prevalence factors associated with the detection of equine herpesvirus type 1 (EHV-1) by quantitative PCR (qPCR) in horses presented to veterinarians with clinical signs related to an upper respiratory tract infection and/or acute onset of neurological disease from March 2008 to December 2014. Nasal secretions and whole blood from 4228 equids with acute onset of fever, respiratory signs and/or neurological deficits were tested by qPCR for EHV-1. Categorical analyses were performed to determine the association between observations and EHV-1. A total of 117/4228 (2.7 per cent) equids tested qPCR-positive for EHV-1, with most of the isolates belonging to the non-neuropathogenic genotype (N752). EHV-1 PCR-positive equids were over-represented in racing horses. Depression, anorexia, nasal discharge and coughing were significantly less frequently reported in the EHV-1 qPCR-positive equids compared with the EHV-1 qPCR-negative cases. Neurological deficits were more frequently reported in the EHV-1 qPCR-positive cases. This study provides contemporary information on the frequency of EHV-1 detection by qPCR in blood and nasal secretions from horses with fever, respiratory signs and neurological deficits.
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