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Authors: Bianca Schwarz, Andrea Klang, Barbora Bezdekova, Sára Sárdi, Orsolya Kutasi and Rene Hoven

Equine multinodular pulmonary fibrosis (EMPF), a progressive fibrosing interstitial lung disease has been associated with gammaherpesviruses. This case series describes five horses with EMPF. Three of the horses (two in Hungary, one in the Czech Republic) were diagnosed with EMPF ante mortem. They presented with typical clinical signs of EMPF including dyspnoea and weight loss. Arterial blood gas analysis revealed hypoxaemia. Blood work showed signs of inflammation like neutrophilia and hyperfibrinogenaemia. An endoscopic examination of the respiratory tract including cytology and culture of tracheobronchial secretion and bronchoalveolar lavage were performed, revealing secondary bacterial infection in one case. A suspected diagnosis of EMPF was made on the basis of a positive EHV-5 PCR from bronchoalveolar lavage and the findings of thoracic radiographs and ultrasound examination. In one case the diagnosis was confirmed by lung biopsy. All horses died or had to be euthanised despite treatment. Two horses (from Austria) were diagnosed with EMPF post mortem. They not only had EMPF but also concurrent other diseases which seemed to be associated with immunosuppression. Three horses showed the discrete form and two horses the diffuse form of EMPF. EHV-5 DNA was identified in lung tissue of all horses by PCR.

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Authors: Orsolya Kutasi, Orsolya Fehér, Sára Sárdi, Nándor Balogh, Anna Nagy, Leticia Moravszki, Emese Bódai and Ottó Szenci

Abstract

West Nile virus (WNV) is a zoonotic arbovirus transmitted by mosquitoes between wild birds (natural hosts) and other vertebrates. Horses and humans are incidental, dead-end hosts, but can develop severe neurological disorders. Owing to the close contact of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) with the extracellular fluid of the brain, the analysis of CSF composition can reflect central nervous system (CNS) impairments enabling the diagnosis and understanding of various neurodegenerative CNS disorders. Our objective was to compare the findings from the CSF samples of horses with neuroinvasive WNV infection with those of healthy controls. We compared findings from fifteen CSF samples of 13 horses with acute WNV encephalomyelitis with those of 20 healthy controls. Protein, particular enzymes and ions, glucose and lactate showed abnormal levels in a significant number of WNV cases. None of the six horses with elevated glucose concentrations survived. Rather neutrophilic than mononuclear pleocytosis was identified with WNV infection. Neutrophils probably play a role in the development of inflammatory response and brain damage. Although elevated glucose levels reliably predicted the outcome, they might be the consequence of increased plasma levels and reflect general stress rather than CNS pathophysiology. The CSF findings of WNV encephalomyelitis patients are non-specific and variable but facilitate the differential diagnosis.

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