Equine Viral Encephalitis

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Also known as: Equine viral encephalomyelitis — Equine viral encephalitides — Equine viral encephalomyelitides


Viral diseases affecting the central nervous system (CNS) of equidae causing encephalitis or meningoencephalitis. Most commonly involves Equine Togaviral Encephalitis.


Infection with any of the following viruses can cause CNS disease in horses:

Family Bornaviridae, Genus Bornavirus

  • Borna Disease Virus

Family Bunyaviridae, Genus Bunyamweravirus

  • Cache Valley Virus

Family Bunyaviridae, Genus Orthobunyavirus

  • California Encephalitis viruses [1]
    • Snowshoe Hare Virus
    • Jamestown Canyon Virus
  • Main Drain Virus

Family Flaviviridae, Genus Flavivirus

Family Paramyxoviridae, Genus Henipavirus

Family Rhabdoviridae, Genus Lyssavirus

Family Reoviridae, Genus Orbivirus

  • Equine Encephalosis Virus

Family Togaviridae, Genus Alphavirus

  • Aura Virus
  • Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus (EEV) **
  • Western EEV **
  • Venezuelan EEV **
  • Highlands J Virus
  • Getah Virus
  • Semliki Forest Virus
  • Ross River Virus
  • Una Virus

Other viruses implicated in equine encephalitis:

  • Maguari Virus[2]


Diseases caused by some of the viruses listed above (**) are subject to The Infectious Diseases of Horses Order 1987. "The Order, which revoked and replaced earlier legislation, makes these diseases compulsorily notifiable: it gives an inspector powers to declare an infected place where disease is suspected; to carry out a veterinary inquiry, prohibits the movement of horses carcases and other things onto or off the premises and requires cleansing and disinfection". Council Directive 90/426 describes all cases of equine encephalomyelitis (regardless of cause) as compulsorily notifiable to the EU.[3]

Equine Viral Encephalitis Learning Resources
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Full Text Articles
Full text articles available from CAB Abstract
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Update on viral encephalitis, encephalomyelitis and myeloencephalopathy. Traub-Dargatz, J.; Eastern States Veterinary Association, Gainesville, USA, Proceedings of the North American Veterinary Conference. Large animal. Volume 19, Orlando, Florida, USA, 8-12 January, 2005, 2005, pp 274-278, 10 ref.


  1. Bertone, J.J (2010) Viral Encephalitis in Reed, S.M, Bayly, W.M. and Sellon, D.C (2010) Equine Internal Medicine (Third Edition), Saunders, Chapter 12.
  2. Calisher, C.H, Monath, T.P, Sabattini, M.S, Mitchell, C.J, Lazuick, J.S, Tesh, R.B, Cropp, C.B (1987) A newly recognised vesiculovirus, Calchaqui virus, and subtypes of Melao and Maguari viruses from Argentina, with serologic evidence for infections of humans and horses, Am J Trop Med Hyg, 36:114-119. In: Bertone, J.J (2010) Viral Encephalitis in Reed, S.M, Bayly, W.M. and Sellon, D.C (2010) Equine Internal Medicine (Third Edition), Saunders, Chapter 12.
  3. http://www.defra.gov.uk/foodfarm/farmanimal/diseases/atoz/viralenceph/index.htm

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