Zoonotic Viral Diseases of Equines and Their Impact on Human and Animal Health

Balvinder Kumar*, Anju Manuja, BR Gulati, Nitin Virmani, B.N. Tripathi
ICAR-National Research Centre on Equines, Hisar-125001, India



Zoonotic diseases are the infectious diseases that can be transmitted to human beings from animals either directly or indirectly. These diseases can be caused by a range of organisms including bacteria, parasites, viruses and fungi. Viral diseases are highly infectious and capable of causing pandemics as evidenced by outbreaks of diseases like Ebola, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, West Nile, SARS-Corona, Nipah, Hendra, Avian influenza and Swine influenza.


Many viruses affecting equines are also important human pathogens. Diseases like Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), Western equine encephalitis (WEE), and Venezuelan-equine encephalitis (VEE) are highly infectious and can be disseminated as aerosols. A large number of horses and human cases of VEE with fatal encephalitis have continuously occurred in Venezuela and Colombia. Vesicular stomatitis (VS) is prevalent in horses in North America and has zoonotic potential causing encephalitis in children. Hendra virus (HeV) causes respiratory and neurological disease and death in man and horses. Since its first outbreak in 1994, 53 disease incidents have been reported in Australia. West Nile fever has spread to many newer territories across continents during recent years.


It has been described in Africa, Europe, South Asia, Oceania and North America. Japanese encephalitis has expanded horizons from Asia to western Pacific region including the eastern Indonesian archipelago, Papua New Guinea and Australia. Rabies is rare in horses but still a public health concern being a fatal disease. Equine influenza is historically not known to affect humans but many scientists have mixed opinions. Equine viral diseases of zoonotic importance and their impact on animal and human health have been elaborated in this article.

Keywords: Zoonotic diseases, Equine viral diseases, Human health, Animal health.

Abstract Information

Identifiers and Pagination:

Year: 2018
Volume: 12
Publisher Item Identifier: EA-TOVJ-2018-HT2-5

Article History:

Received Date: 25/4/2017
Revision Received Date: 14/3/2018
Acceptance Date: 15/5/2018
Electronic publication date: 22/6/2018
Collection year: 2018

© 2018 Kumar et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode). This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Correspondence: Address correspondence to this author at the ICAR-National Research Centre on Equines, Hisar-125001, India; Tel: +9466128008; E-mail: bmanuja.nrce@gmail.com