Field evaluation of a rapid, mobile, novel sequencing technology for the detection of Equine Herpesvirus-1 in equine nasal secretions

Purpose

To evaluate a novel, DNA sequencing modality for diagnosing Equine herpesvirus-1 via nasal swab samples in outbreak scenarios and to further characterize the molecular epidemiology of the virus.

Background

Equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1) is very widespread in horse populations. Therefore, effective management is key to limiting the impact of EHV-1 on horse health and the horse industry. Test results for current detection methods, such as PCR and virus isolation, can take multiple days before they become available, meaning that the virus could spread before being identified. A novel DNA sequencing technology, the MinION nanopore sequencer, offers a new tool to rapidly detect and differentiate EHV-1 as a stall-side diagnostic and in field applications, with naturally occurring disease and outbreaks.

This study is funded by the American Quarterhorse Foundation and the Veterinary Memorial Fund.

Eligibility

  • Written owner informed consent obtained
  • Suspect EHV-1 positive horses with or without confirmed PCR results

We are also recruiting horses without clinical signs from the same location as suspected EHV-1 positive horses to serve as control subjects.

Exclusion

  • Horses <1 year of age
  • Horses with chronic respiratory disease (>2 months duration)
  • Horses with neurologic disease with confirmed causes other than EHV-1

Study Design

For this study, we are seeking nasal swab samples from horses that are showing clinical signs consistent with EHV-1 and from horses that are from the same location as suspect EHV-1 shedding horses. Clinical signs consistent with EHV-1 may include nasal discharge, fever, ataxia, urine dribbling, decreased perineal tone, late-term abortions, or recumbency. This study involves confirming the presence of EHV-1 in the sample, as well as DNA sequencing the virus and assessing the molecular profile. If the horse is suspected to be shedding EHV-1, PCR testing can be performed and diagnostic results can be reported to the submitting veterinarian at no charge if an email is provided on the submission form.

To submit samples, please contact Nadia Saklou nsaklou@vt.edu with "EHV-1 Study" in subject line. Sample submission forms, shipping labels and permits will be sent to you via email.

Compensation

All study-related sample testing and shipping will be paid for by the investigators. Results for analyses will be provided to the submitting veterinarian at no charge, if an email is provided in the submission form.

Contact

Nadia Saklou, DVM; PhD candidate, Biomedical Sciences and Pathology
Email: nsaklou@vt.edu | Phone: 713-376-4320

If your query is urgent, please call the Large Animal Hospital on 540-231-4621.