Coronavirus infections in horses in Saudi Arabia and Oman

Transbound Emerg Dis. 2017 Dec;64(6):2093-2103. doi: 10.1111/tbed.12630. Epub 2017 Mar 13.


Equine coronaviruses (ECoV) are the only coronavirus known to infect horses. So far, data on ECoV infection in horses remain limited to the USA, France and Japan and its geographic distribution is not well understood. We carried out RT-PCR on 306 nasal and 315 rectal swabs and tested 243 sera for antibodies to detect coronavirus infections in apparently healthy horses in Saudi Arabia and Oman. We document evidence of infection with ECoV and HKU23 coronavirus by RT-PCR. There was no conclusive evidence of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus infection in horses. Serological data suggest that lineage A betacoronavirus infections are commonly infecting horses in Saudi Arabia and Oman but antibody cross-reactivities between these viruses do not permit us to use serological data alone to identify which coronaviruses are causing these infections.

Keywords: HKU23; cross-neutralization; equine coronavirus; middle east respiratory syndrome coronavirus; polymerase chain reaction; serology.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Betacoronavirus / genetics
  • Betacoronavirus / immunology*
  • Betacoronavirus / isolation & purification
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Coronavirus / genetics
  • Coronavirus / immunology*
  • Coronavirus / isolation & purification
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Coronavirus Infections / veterinary*
  • Coronavirus Infections / virology
  • Cross Reactions
  • Horse Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Horse Diseases / virology
  • Horses
  • Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus / genetics
  • Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus / immunology*
  • Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus / isolation & purification
  • Oman / epidemiology
  • Saudi Arabia / epidemiology
  • Vero Cells

Associated data

  • GENBANK/EF446615