ACVIM issues consensus statement on EHV-1

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Future progress on understanding and treating infections caused by equine herpesvirus-1 will depend on research into viral pathogenesis and epidemiology.

That is according to the consensus statement released June 3 by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine on the disease, which draws together current knowledge on the disease.

Specifically, the publication addresses 10 key areas to guide veterinarians in understanding and managing diseases caused by EHV-1: disease mechanisms; polymerase chain reaction testing; epidemiology; risk factors; diagnosis, prognosis, and screening; vaccines; prevention for neurologic and abortigenic forms; control of EHV-1 outbreaks; response to an outbreak; and treatment approaches.

The document's authors cite an apparent increase in the occurrence in North America of equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy, the neurologic form of EHV-1, as the impetus behind the statement.

EHV-1 myeloencephalitis cases occur singly or as outbreaks affecting 20 percent to 50 percent of the horse population, according to the American Association of Equine Practitioners' guideline on the disease. They may or may not be associated with a previous or ongoing EHV-1 outbreak of respiratory tract disease.

The consensus statement concludes: "Our understanding of the features of EHV-1 is increasing, but there is more to learn before we can best address the challenges that this virus presents. In almost every area of this paper we repeatedly encounter limitations of our understanding that depend principally on our lack of understanding of the pathogenesis of the diseases EHV-1 causes."

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