Equine viruses

Herpesviruses are large viruses with a linear double stranded DNA genome divided into three subfamilies, alpha, beta, and gamma. There are five types of equine herpesvirus (EHV) i.e. the three alpha-herpesviruses EHV-1, EHV-4, EHV-3 and two gamma-herpesviruses, EHV-2 and EHV-5.

Horses in Iceland are known to be infected with EHV-4, EHV-3, EHV-2, and EHV-5. Infections with these four herpesviruses usually cause little, or no, symptoms. However, EHV-1 which is the equine herpesvirus with the most severe pathology has never been detected in Iceland making Iceland the only country known to be free of EHV-1.

Projects and publications

Lilja Þorsteinsdóttur, PhD (2020). Equine herpesviruses in Iceland: Course of infection and immune response against gammaherpesviruses type 2 and 5, and isolation of an alphaherpesvirus, type 3. https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11815/1793

Kristín Þórhallsdóttir, veterinary degree (2013). Rannsókn á alfa herpesveirum (EHV 1 og 4) í merum og folöldum þeirra á Íslandi fyrsta ár eftir köstun.

Sara Björk Stefánsdóttir, BSc (2013). Prevalence of gammaherpesvirus infections in foals and their dams the first year after birth. http://hdl.handle.net/1946/14270

Lilja Þorsteinsdóttir, MSc (2009) Genetic diversity of equine gammaherpesviruses in Iceland. http://hdl.handle.net/1946/28208

Mieke Roelse, veterinary degree (2005). IgG subclass response against equine herpes virus types 2 and 5 in horses.

Thorsteinsdóttir L, Jonsdóttir, S., Stefánsdóttir, SB., Andrésdóttir, V., Wagner, B.,  Marti, E.,  Torsteinsdóttir S, Svansson V. The effect of maternal immunity on the equine gammaherpesvirus type 2 and 5 viral load and antibody response. PLoS One 2019. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0218576

Thorsteinsdóttir L, Torsteinsdóttir S, Svansson V. Establishment and characterization of fetal equine kidney and lung cells with extended lifespan. Susceptibility to equine gammaherpesvirus infection and transfection efficiency. In Vitro Cell Dev Biol Anim. 2016, 52:872-877. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11626-016-0046-9

Thorsteinsdóttir L, Torfason EG, Torsteinsdóttir S, Svansson V. Genetic diversity of equine gammaherpesviruses (γ-EHV) and isolation of a syncytium forming EHV-2 strain from a horse in Iceland. Research in Veterinary Science 2013, 94:170-177. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rvsc.2012.07.011

Thorsteinsdóttir L, Torfason EG, Torsteinsdóttir S, Svansson V. Isolation and partial sequencing of Equid herpesvirus 5 from a horse in Iceland. J Vet Diagn Invest 2010, 22:420-423. https://doi.org/10.1177/104063871002200313

Svansson V., Roelse, M., Ólafsdóttir G., Thorsteinsdóttir L., Torfason E., and Torsteinsdóttir S. Immune response against equine gammaherpesvirus in Icelandic horses. Vet. Microbiol. 2009, 137:363-368. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.vetmic.2009.01.020

Torfason E.G., Thorsteinsdóttir L, Torsteinsdóttir S. and Svansson V. Study of equine herpesviruses 2 and 5 in Iceland with a type-specific polymerase chain reaction. Research in Veterinary Science 2008, 85:605–611. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rvsc.2008.01.003