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Other Species Affected

Equine herpesvirus has been shown to affect species other than domestic horses, including natural infection of donkeys, exotic equidae and occasionally other similar species, in addition to experimental infection of a variety of species (4) (24).  It appears that different host species are generally infected by different forms of the equineherpes virus.  For example, donkeys are known to act as a reservoir species with no clinical signs, typically zebras do not show clinical signs either, but reports exist (27). 


Image: donkey (31)

Image: zebra (32)

Equine herpesvirus is known to naturally infect exotic Equidae, including zebras and Przewalski’s wild horses (25) (23).  It has also been reported in captive and free-ranging populations of Arabian Oryx  (26).  Isolates of a virus detected in naturally infected cattle and antelope has been shown to be EHV-1 (30).  A virus very similar to EHV-1 was also detected in a young giraffe in a zoo leading to central nervous system sequelae and eventually death of the animal.  It was unclear at the time of publication of the journal article whether this is in fact equine herpesvirus affecting the giraffe, or another similar virus. (27)

In laboratory settings, it has been possible to deliberately infect cats, dogs, and pigs with EHV-9 (24) (28) (29).

Equine herpesvirus has not been shown to be zoonotic (4).




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April 2nd, 2007.  Jessica Robertson and Emily Robinson.