EQUUS - - Eq Letters -

Last fall, an out­break of the rare vi­ral in­fec­tion known as Getah swept through a rac­ing sta­ble in Ja­pan.

A mos­quito-borne ar­bovirus, Getah is wide­spread among ver­te­brate pop­u­la­tions in Eura­sia and Aus­trala­sia (Aus­tralia, New Zealand, the is­land of New Guinea and neigh­bor­ing is­lands in the Pa­cific Ocean) but has rarely been as­so­ci­ated with ill­ness in horses.

Af­fected horses usu­ally show mild signs con­sis­tent with other vi­ral dis­eases, such as a fever, leg swelling, skin rashes and en­larged glands around the head. Dif­fer­ent strains of the virus pro­duce slightly dif­fer­ent clin­i­cal signs.

With sup­port­ive care, most horses make a full re­cov­ery in two weeks or less.

The most re­cent out­break was de­tected when sev­eral horses at the Miho Train­ing Cen­ter de­vel­oped high fev­ers. Out of the 49 af­fected

horses, 25 were found to be Getah pos­i­tive with a re­verse tran­scrip­tion poly­merase chain re­ac­tion (RT-PCR) test. A pre­vi­ous out­break oc­curred at the same train­ing cen­ter in 1978. Re­searchers say they do not know what trig­gered the latest out­break.

Ref­er­ence: “Getah virus in­fec­tion among race­horses, Ja­pan, 2014,” Emerg­ing In­fec­tious Dis­eases, May


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