Equine Herpes Virus and its environmental importance

Lucas Pantaleon, DVM MS DACVIM MBA

Biosecurity Consultant

Director Technical Services

Ogena Solutions

Equine Herpes Virus 1 (EHV-1) continues to cause concern among the horse industry with positive cases and quarantined equine facilities in North America and of late in New Zealand.


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EHV-1 is an enveloped virus, which means that it normally does not survive outside the host for very long. However, a study performed at the University of Colorado suggested that the virus has the ability to survive in the environment under the right conditions for some time. 1 Therefore the virus can remain infective to other horses on environmental surfaces, thus beside direct contact, fomites are also an important means of transmission for this disease.

Biosecurity measures and amongst them proper cleaning and disinfection are paramount to prevent and control the spread of this disease.

Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide (AHP) disinfectants, along with other biosecurity measures, have been used successfully to control EHV-1 outbreak situation. 2 AHP has a label claim against EHV-1.

1. Saklow N. ENVIRONMENTAL SURVIVAL OF EQUID HERPESVIRUS TYPE 1 (EHV-1). American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine Forum 2013.

2. Burgess BA, Tokateloff N, Manning S, et al. Nasal shedding of equine herpesvirus-1 from horses in an outbreak of equine herpes myeloencephalopathy in Western Canada. J Vet Intern Med 2012;26:384-392.