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Untreated water 'could be source of EHV'
horse drinkng
Horses and other susceptible mammals could be infected by herpesviruses from water bodies, long after the animals that shed the virus have left the area.
Equine herpesvirus remains infectious for three weeks - study

Berlin researchers have discovered that equine herpesvirus (EHV) can remain stable and infectious over a three-week period, challenging the idea that herpesviruses are relatively unstable outside their host.

The research, published in the journal Scientific Reports, suggests that untreated water could be a source of infection for some herpesviruses.

Enveloped viruses, such as herpesviruses, cause disease when they spread from host to host via aerosol transmission. However, they are generally thought to be unstable in the environment, requiring rapid, direct transfer in order to survive and remain infectious.

Testing this idea, researchers from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research spiked water with equine herpesviruses under different conditions over a period of three weeks, to examine whether the virus remained infectious.

The team say the virus did remain stable and infectious for up to three weeks, with pH and temperature being the two key factors in determining how long the viruses survived.

Adding soil to the water appeared to 'pull' the virus out of the water, stabilising it in the soil. This suggests viruses may persist for an extended period of time in natural water bodies. In the case of EHV, horses and other susceptible mammals could be infected by herpesviruses from water bodies, long after the animals that shed the virus have left the area.

Viruses such as EHV may therefore become part of the environmental 'virome' and remain infectious, researchers say. Equine herpesviruses have spread among mammals including polar bears and rhinos, without coming into direct contact with horses or their relatives. This has occurred in captivity and in the wild, according to the Leibniz Institute, often resulting in fatalities. Shared water sources could be a source of, and potential vector for, infection.

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Classroom pets on the decline

News Story 1
 New research has found there are fewer pets in UK classrooms than in previous generations - despite 88 per cent of parents believing it significantly helps a child’s social skills and development.

More than half of the parents surveyed by Pets at Home (51 per cent) had a class pet as a child, compared to 46 per cent of children today.

The survey also found that non-traditional animals such as chickens, tadpoles, caterpillars and stick insects are becoming increasingly popular alternatives as classroom pets.  

News Shorts
BVA survey seeks views on surveillance

Vets who use veterinary scanning surveillance networks are being asked to complete a survey to help ensure the networks are fully able to protect animals in the UK.

‘Surveillance use, understanding and engagement across the veterinary profession’ is the first of a series of surveillance surveys that will also include localised surveys for Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Drafted by members of BVA’s Surveillance Working Group, it will run until Friday, 31 August 2017. Data collected will inform BVA’s policy position ensuring it is representative of disease surveillance across the UK.