EVA and EHV-1 Research a Focus at the Gluck Equine Research Center

Equine arteritis virus (EVA) and equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1) are the two main topics of research for Udeni Balasuriya, BVSc, MS, PhD, associate professor of virology at the Gluck Equine Research Center.
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Balasuriya Focuses on EVA and EHV-1 Research at the Gluck Equine Research Center

Equine arteritis virus (EVA) and equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1) are the two main topics of research for Udeni Balasuriya, BVSc, MS, PhD, associate professor of virology at the Gluck Equine Research Center.

Balasuriya, who joined the Gluck Center in 2005, focuses on characterizing the molecular epidemiology and molecular basis of pathogenesis of EAV and EHV-1 infections in horses. EAV is the causative agent of equine viral arteritis (EVA), which is characterized by upper respiratory tract disease in adult horses, abortion in mares, and pneumonia in young foals. Stallions can become long-term carriers of the virus and transmit the virus during breeding. EHV-1 also causes upper respiratory tract disease and abortion. Some EHV-1 strains have the ability to cause neurologic disease that could lead to paralysis and even death.

“Both of these viruses pose a significant threat to the global equine industry as there has been an increase in the number of outbreaks of EVA and the neurologic form of EHV-1 in the U.S. and around the world,” Balasuriya said. “Furthermore, there is increased global dissemination of EAV and rise in the incidence of EVA due to the rapid national and international movement of carrier stallions for breeding and competition. In 2006 and 2007, a multi-state occurrence of EVA was confirmed for the first time in Quarter Horses in the U.S. The recent outbreak of EVA in Quarter Horses increased awareness among horse owners and breeders of a disease that can have significant financial repercussions, especially for the breeding sector of the nation’s equine industry

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