Seroprevalence and rate of infection of equine influenza virus (H3N8 and H7N7) and equine herpesvirus (1 and 4) in the horse population in Israel

Karin Aharonson-Raz, Irit Davidson, Yael Porat, Amira Altory, Eyal Klement, Amir Steinman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Equine influenza and equine rhinopneumonitis are among the Office International des Epizooties or the World Organisation for Animal Health notifiable, contagious respiratory diseases. Although vaccination of horses in Israel against equine influenza virus (EIV) and against equine herpesvirus (EHV) is routinely performed, information regarding the occurrence and the epidemiology of the diseases is lacking. We hereby attempt to determine seroprevalence and rate of infection for EHV-1 and 4 and for EIV in horses distributed throughout Israel and describe demographic and environmental risk factors associated with seroprevalence. Despite the fact that last reported isolation of EIV in Israel occurred in 2007, we found a 26.4% (29/110) (95% confidence interval [CI]: 18.18-34.62) seroprevalence for H3N8, a 16.4% (18/110) (95% CI: 9.49-23.31) for H7N7, and a 6.4% (7/110) (95% CI: 1.83-10.97) rate of seroconversion for H3N8, suggesting current and active circulation of EIV in horses in Israel. Age, housing management type, and type of farm activity were significantly associated with seroprevalence, with activities allowing exposure to new horses positively associated with seroprevalence to EIV and an only pasture housing management negatively associated with seroprevalence. No association was detected between other demographic variables (gender, breed, and color) and environmental factors (climatic regions). Seroprevalence to EHV-1 and 4 were very low (<1%) and very high (>99%), respectively, raising questions regarding the appropriate vaccination guidelines. Our findings of the occurrence of EIV in horses in Israel imply an underdiagnosis of this virus in this country and warrant further investigation as to the strains that circulate in this region and their accordance with the current vaccine strains.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)828-832
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Equine Veterinary Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2014


  • Equine
  • Force of infection
  • Herpesvirus
  • Influenza
  • Seroprevalence


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