Vaccination for the prevention of equine herpesvirus-1 disease in domesticated horses: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Klaus Osterrieder, David C. Dorman, Brandy A. Burgess, Lutz S. Goehring, Peggy Gross, Claire Neinast, Nicola Pusterla, Gisela Soboll Hussey, David P. Lunn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Equine herpes virus type 1 (EHV-1) infection in horses is associated with respiratory and neurologic disease, abortion, and neonatal death. Hypothesis: Vaccines decrease the occurrence of clinical disease in EHV-1-infected horses. Methods: A systematic review was performed searching multiple databases to identify relevant studies. Selection criteria were original peer-reviewed research reports that investigated the in vivo use of vaccines for the prevention of disease caused by EHV-1 in domesticated horses. Main outcomes of interest included pyrexia, abortion, neurologic disease, viremia, and nasal shedding. We evaluated risk of bias, conducted exploratory meta-analyses of incidence data for the main outcomes, and performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for each vaccine subtype. Results: A total of 1018 unique studies were identified, of which 35 met the inclusion criteria. Experimental studies accounted for 31/35 studies, with the remainder being observational studies. Eight vaccine subclasses were identified including commercial (modified-live, inactivated, mixed) and experimental (modified-live, inactivated, deletion mutant, DNA, recombinant). Risk of bias was generally moderate, often because of underreporting of research methods, and sample sizes were small leading to imprecision in the estimate of the effect size. Several studies reported either no benefit or minimal vaccine efficacy for the primary outcomes of interest. Meta-analyses revealed significant heterogeneity was present, and our confidence in the quality of evidence for most outcomes was low to moderate. Conclusions and Clinical Importance: Our review indicates that commercial and experimental vaccines minimally reduce the incidence of clinical disease associated with EHV-1 infection.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Veterinary Internal Medicine
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine.


  • equine
  • equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy (EHM)
  • equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1)
  • vaccination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Veterinary


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