Herpesvirus and Transmission


The virus
Equine herpesvirus, like all herpesviruses, consists of a capsid surrounded by an envelope. The envelope makes it susceptible to detergents, since once the detergent has destroyed the envelope the virus can no longer function. Herpesviruses are thought to be found in all vertebrate species, and each one is very specific to its host species.

Methods of transmission
This virus is transmitted from one horse to the other by the horse inhaling infected droplets or by the horse eating material that has been contaminated by nasal discharge or aborted fetuses. This virus can survive for 14-45 days in the environment.

Herpesviruses stay latent in animals that they infect; this means that they remain in the animal in an inactive state for a lifetime without causing symptoms.

However, latent viruses reactivate periodically, and at this time can again be spread to other horses and can cause mild symptoms.