Isolation of an Equine Foamy Virus and Sero-Epidemiology of the Viral Infection in Horses in Japan

Viruses. 2019 Jul 5;11(7):613. doi: 10.3390/v11070613.


An equine foamy virus (EFV) was isolated for the first time in Japan from peripheral blood mononuclear cells of a broodmare that showed wobbler syndrome after surgery for intestinal volvulus and the isolate was designated as EFVeca_LM. Complete nucleotide sequences of EFVeca_LM were determined. Nucleotide sequence analysis of the long terminal repeat (LTR) region, gag, pol, env, tas, and bel2 genes revealed that EFVeca_LM and the EFV reference strain had 97.2% to 99.1% identities. For a sero-epidemiological survey, indirect immunofluorescent antibody tests were carried out using EFVeca_LM-infected cells as an antigen against 166 sera of horses in five farms collected in 2001 to 2002 and 293 sera of horses in eight farms collected in 2014 to 2016 in Hokkaido, Japan. All of the farms had EFV antibody-positive horses, and average positive rates were 24.6% in sera obtained in 2001 to 2002 and 25.6% in sera obtained in 2014 to 2016 from broodmare farms. The positive rate in a stallion farm (Farm A) in 2002 was 10.7%, and the positive rates in two stallion farms, Farms A and B, in 2015 were 40.9% and 13.3%, respectively. The results suggested that EFV infection is maintained widely in horses in Japan.

Keywords: Japan; equine foamy virus; isolation; sero-epidemiology; spumaretrovirus.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood
  • Breeding
  • Farms
  • Genes, Viral / genetics
  • Horse Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Horse Diseases / virology*
  • Horses
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / virology
  • RNA, Viral / genetics
  • Retroviridae Infections / epidemiology
  • Retroviridae Infections / veterinary*
  • Retroviridae Infections / virology
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • Spumavirus / genetics
  • Spumavirus / immunology
  • Spumavirus / isolation & purification*
  • Terminal Repeat Sequences / genetics


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • RNA, Viral