Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Low transmission rates of equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV) in foals born to seropositive feral mares inhabiting the Amazon Delta region despite climatic conditions supporting high insect vector populations.

Abstract

Background: Marajó Island, within in the Amazon River Delta, supports numerous bands of feral equids including the genetically distinct Marajoara horses. Approximately 40% of the equids on the island are infected with Equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV). This high seropositivity rate coupled with the need to preserve rare breeds such as the Marajoara horse precludes euthanasia as the primary means for controlling EIAV in this region. In the absence of iatrogenic transmission, spread of this lentivirus is mediated primarily by hematophagous insects, whose year-round prevalence on the island is supported by favorable climatic conditions. In addition, cases of vertical EIAV transmission have been observed suggesting inclusion of seropositive mares in restorative breeding programs could result in their progeny becoming infected with this virus either pre-parturition or post-partum via hematophagous insects. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate EIAV vertical and post-partum insect-mediated transmission rates among foals born to seropositive feral mares until natural weaning. Serum samples from foals born to seropositive feral mares within the Soure municipality, of Marajó Island, were collected to investigate their serological status, using an indirect ELISApgp45, with positive samples confirmed using the classical agar gel immunodiffusion (AGID) assay. Results: The serological status of 28 foals were monitored over a 2-year period with some subjects, depending on their date of birth, being sampled up to six times. All foals remained with their respective mares until fully weaned at approximately 10 months of age. Only 2 foals (7.14%) in the study group became seropositive against EIAV. Conclusion: The results demonstrate that in most cases it is possible to obtain seronegative foals born to and eventually weaned by EIA positive mares, even in equatorial regions where substantial rainfall and high temperatures favor the proliferation of insect vectors.