Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

West Nile virus associated with equid encephalitis in Brazil, 2018.

Abstract

Mosquito-borne arboviruses are a major public health concern worldwide and are responsible for emerging and re-emerging diseases. Taken together, the arboviruses have a strong impact on public health and are the most common causes of equine encephalitis. In-depth diagnostic investigation of equine viral encephalitis is of utmost importance for the epidemiological surveillance and control of this disease. Regarding neurological disorders in equids, in April-May 2018, at least 12 cases of equid mortality with acute neurological signs were reported in six farms from Espirito Santo state, Brazil. To investigate the aetiological agent of this neurological disease outbreak, central nervous system (CNS) fragments from two horses and two donkeys were submitted for virologic diagnosis. Rabies, equine herpesvirus-1, and arbovirus-associated encephalomyelitis were investigated using differential diagnosis techniques. West Nile virus (WNV) was detected by nested RT-PCR in CNS fragments from each of the four animals in the study and confirmed by nucleotide sequencing. This is the first case of neurological disease in equids confirmed to be associated with WNV infection in Brazil. This finding unveils a new and urgent field of research and the need to understand the epidemiological and clinical characteristics of the disease and the risk to public health.