Viremia and nasal shedding for the diagnosis of equine herpesvirus-1 infection in domesticated horses

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Equine herpesvirus type 1 (EHV-1) infection is associated with upper respiratory disease, EHM, abortions, and neonatal death. Research Questions: Are nasal secretions a more sensitive biological sample compared to blood for the detection of EHV-1 infection? How long is EHV-1 detectable after primary infection by PCR?. Methods: MedLine and Web of Science searches identified original peer-reviewed reports evaluating nasal shedding and viremia using virus isolation methods or PCR published in English before October 9, 2023. Results: Sixty experimental and 20 observational studies met inclusion criteria. EHV-1 detection frequency by qPCR in nasal secretions and blood from naturally-infected horses with fever and respiratory signs were 15% and 9%, respectively; qPCR detection rates in nasal secretions and blood from horses with suspected EHM were 94% and 70%, respectively. In experimental studies the sensitivity of qPCR matched or exceeded that seen for virus isolation from either nasal secretions or blood. Detection of nasal shedding typically occurred within 2 days after EHV-1 inoculation with a detection period of 3 to 7 days. Viremia lasted 2 to 7 days and was usually detected ≥1 days after positive identification of EHV-1 in nasal secretions. Nasal shedding and viremia decreased over time and remained detectable in some horses for several weeks after inoculation. Conclusions and Clinical Importance: Under experimental conditions, blood and nasal secretions have similar sensitivity for the detection of EHV-1 when horses are sampled on multiple consecutive days. In contrast, in observational studies detection of EHV-1 in nasal secretions was consistently more successful.

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.


  • abortion
  • equine
  • equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy
  • herpesvirus-1
  • nasal shedding
  • quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR)
  • rhinopneumonitis
  • viremia
  • virus isolation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Veterinary


Dive into the research topics of 'Viremia and nasal shedding for the diagnosis of equine herpesvirus-1 infection in domesticated horses'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this