Retrospective serological survey for influenza in horses from Brazil
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Equine influenza (EI) virus is one of the most economically important pathogens of respiratory diseases of horses worldwide. Despite availability of vaccines for control of EI, the highly contagious nature and variability properties of the virus mean global outbreaks occur. Thus, continuous surveillance programs, including seroprevalence studies of disease in different countries, may contribute to better control of the disease. In this study, the seroprevalence of equine influenza in 850 horses from Brazil was investigated. The serodiagnosis was based on the single radial hemolysis (SRH) assay using influenza A/equine/Richmond/1/2007 (H3N8) antigen. Antibodies against A/equine/Richmond/1/07 (H3N8) were detected in 44.7% (380/850, 95% CI: 41.4–48.1%) of horses. Seroprevalence was significantly lower (p = 0.001) in younger animals (< 5 years, 38.6%) than in “adult” animals (5–14 years, 52.1%). There was also a significant relationship between the year of sampling and seroprevalence (p < 0.0005). The mean SRH antibody value was 42.0 mm2 (range 4–238.9 mm2), with the majority of horses (95.3%) having an SRH value ≤ 150 mm2, which is considered an insufficient level for protection of equine hosts against influenza infections and potential virus shedding. These findings indicate the need to reinforce preventive/control measures against equine influenza in Brazil.