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Asian Journal of Animal and Veterinary Advances
Year: 2014  |  Volume: 9  |  Issue: 3  |  Page No.: 164 - 176

Coronavirus Infection in Equines: A Review

K. Dhama, R.V.S. Pawaiya, S. Chakraborty, R. Tiwari, M. Saminathan and A.K. Verma    

Abstract: Coronaviruses are positive-sense single-stranded ribonucleic acid (RNA) viruses causing a broad spectrum of diseases in domestic and wild animals including poultry and rodents. Based on antigenic and genetic similarities coronaviruses have been subdivided into 3 major antigenic groups. They infect and produce disease in multiple species of animals, human beings (group 1 and 2) and birds (group 3). Equine coronavirus (ECV) causes enteritis in foals. Complete genome of first ECV isolate NC99 strain has been recently sequenced. Cytolytic nature of the virus is responsible for occurrence of lesions in the small intestine, thereby causing diarrhea. Demonstration of Coronavirus antigens in clinical samples is test of choice for diagnosis. By electron microscopy (negative staining) Coronavirus like particles can be identified in fecal samples. Coronavirus antigen in fecal samples can be detected by antigen capture enzyme linked immuno-sorbent assay (ELISA). Molecular detection tool like reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) has made the diagnosis more accurate. Virus characterization along with genogrouping has become easier these days with the advent of proteomics and phylogenetic studies. Currently, no vaccine is available for ECV. Biosecurity measures if adopted strictly prevent the disease. The present review highlights the salient features of the Coronavirus in general with special reference to ECV and the disease it causes in equines, its epidemiology, diagnosis and appropriate prevention and control measures to be adopted. The review would be helpful for understanding the virus/disease in a better way and alleviating economic losses to the equine/stud farm owners.

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