Several infectious agents and non-infectious factors can cause central nervous disorders in horses. Amongst them, a new viral agent, the West Nile virus (WNV) emerged in Hungary and caused encephalitic cases. The natural hosts of WNV are wild birds, with the virus being mainly transmitted by mosquito vectors. Most frequently a febrile, general disease is observed (West Nile fever), but sometimes severe encephalomyelitis can develop in vertebrates, particularly in horses and in humans. WNV is a world-wide distributed virus, but in the previous decades it had only a minor veterinary and public health impact in Europe. The presence of WNV in Hungary has been known for a long time; however the first, clinically manifested cases were diagnosed in 2003 in a goose flock. In 2004 an exotic strain of WNV emerged in Hungary and caused sporadic encephalitic cases and mortality in birds of prey. The first equine West Nile neuroinvasive disease in Hungary was diagnosed in 2007. The exotic strain established itself in the country and in 2008 a significant geographic spread was observed, with increasing numbers of encephalitic cases in horses, humans and wild birds. Due to the WNV ecology and epidemiology, the number of clinical cases usually increases according to a seasonal pattern, typically towards the end of summer and beginning of autumn. The aim of this literature survey is to review the recent data on the epidemiology and clinical manifestation of WNV, and to call the attention of the readers to the possibility and importance of the WNV infections of horses in Hungary.
|Translated title of the contribution||West Nile virus encephalomyelitis in horses. Literature review|
|Number of pages||11|
|Journal||Magyar Allatorvosok Lapja|
|Publication status||Published - Dec 1 2012|
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