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Article

Seroprevalence and Risk Factors for Exposure to Equine Coronavirus in Apparently Healthy Horses in Israel

1
Koret School of Veterinary Medicine, The Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rehovot 7610001, Israel
2
Division of Virology, Kimron Veterinary Institute, Beit Dagan 50250, Israel
3
Department of Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Harold C. McKenzie
Animals 2021, 11(3), 894; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030894
Received: 24 February 2021 / Revised: 11 March 2021 / Accepted: 18 March 2021 / Published: 21 March 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Virus Infection in Equine)
Equine coronavirus (ECoV) is a β-coronavirus that, together with other coronaviruses, are pathogenic to both human and animals, as seen in the recent COVID-19 pandemic. ECoV is considered as a diarrheic pathogen in foals and is included in the list of viral causes of enteritis. During the last decade, outbreaks of ECoV were reported in adult horses in the USA, EU and Japan. In Israel, other coronaviruses were reported in cattle, camels and in humans; however, coronaviruses have not been reported in horses. In this study, we aimed to determine the exposure of healthy horses to ECoV and determine the selected risk factors for infection. For this purpose, serum samples were collected from 333 healthy horses, 41 (12.3%) of which had anti-ECoV antibodies. Seropositive horses were found in more than half (58.6%) of the farms and horses located in central Israel were more likely to be positive. ECoV should be included in the differential diagnosis list of pathogens in cases of adult horses with acute onset of anorexia, lethargy, fever and gastrointestinal signs in Israel.
Equine coronavirus (ECoV) infection is the cause of an emerging enteric disease of adult horses. Outbreaks have been reported in the USA, EU and Japan, as well as sporadic cases in the UK and Saudi Arabia. Infection of ECoV in horses in Israel has never been reported, and the risk of exposure is unknown. Importation and exportation of horses from and into Israel may have increased the exposure of horses in Israel to ECoV. While the disease is mostly self-limiting, with or without supportive treatment, severe complications may occur in some animals, and healthy carriers may pose a risk of infection to other horses. This study was set to evaluate the risk of exposure to ECoV of horses in Israel by using a previously validated, S1-based enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). A total of 41 out of 333 horses (12.3%) were seropositive. Exposure to ECoV was detected in 17 of 29 farms (58.6%) and the seroprevalence varied between 0 and 37.5% amongst farms. The only factor found to be significantly associated with ECoV exposure in the multivariable model was the geographical area (p < 0.001). ECoV should be included in the differential diagnosis list of pathogens in cases of adult horses with anorexia, lethargy, fever and gastrointestinal signs in Israel. View Full-Text
Keywords: equine coronavirus; horse; enteric disease; ECoV; seroprevalence equine coronavirus; horse; enteric disease; ECoV; seroprevalence
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MDPI and ACS Style

Schvartz, G.; Tirosh-Levy, S.; Barnum, S.; David, D.; Sol, A.; Pusterla, N.; Steinman, A. Seroprevalence and Risk Factors for Exposure to Equine Coronavirus in Apparently Healthy Horses in Israel. Animals 2021, 11, 894. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030894

AMA Style

Schvartz G, Tirosh-Levy S, Barnum S, David D, Sol A, Pusterla N, Steinman A. Seroprevalence and Risk Factors for Exposure to Equine Coronavirus in Apparently Healthy Horses in Israel. Animals. 2021; 11(3):894. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030894

Chicago/Turabian Style

Schvartz, Gili, Sharon Tirosh-Levy, Samantha Barnum, Dan David, Asaf Sol, Nicola Pusterla, and Amir Steinman. 2021. "Seroprevalence and Risk Factors for Exposure to Equine Coronavirus in Apparently Healthy Horses in Israel" Animals 11, no. 3: 894. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030894

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