Equine Herpesvirus Type 9 in Giraffe with Encephalitis

Herpesviruses have been isolated from many mammals. Herpesvirus infection in natural hosts is often mild and is usually followed by a latent infection; however, cross-species herpesvirus infections cause severe and fatal diseases. These findings may explain why the giraffe had lesions while the zebras in the same enclosure did not.

Outcome: The fact the zebras were apparently healthy and seropositive for EHV-1 raises the possibility that the virus was reactivated and shed by one of the zebras, resulting in systemic infection and disease in the giraffe This cross-species transmission of equine herpesviruses raises the possibility of latent infection and transmission of the disease from zebras to other animal species kept in zoos; the results could be devastating. Zebras might be EHV-9 carriers in zoos. Cross-species transmission must be considered in terms of screening susceptible animals for subclinical infection in terms of husbandry and housing issues for irreplaceable species.

Publish DateAugust 12, 2018
Last UpdatedJanuary 26, 2021
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