Serological markers of Bornavirus infection found in horses in Iceland

Sigríður Björnsdóttir, Elfa Agustsdóttir, Anne Lie Blomström, Inga Lena Örde Oström, Louise T.reiberg Berndtsson, Vilhjálmur Svansson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: In a stable of eight horses in Northern Iceland, six horses presented with clinical signs, such as ataxia and reduced appetite, leading to euthanasia of one severely affected horse. Serological investigations revealed no evidence of active equine herpes virus type 1 infection, a common source of central nervous system disease in horses, nor equine arteritis virus and West Nile virus. Another neurotropic virus, Borna disease virus, was therefore included in the differential diagnosis list.

FINDINGS: Serological investigations revealed antibodies against Borna disease virus in four of five horses with neurological signs in the affected stable. One horse without clinical signs was seronegative. Four clinically healthy horses in the stable that arrived and were sampled one year after the outbreak were found seronegative, whereas one of four investigated healthy horses in an unaffected stable was seropositive.

CONCLUSIONS: This report contains the first evidence of antibodies to Borna disease virus in Iceland. Whether Borna disease virus was the cause of the neurological signs could however not be confirmed by pathology or molecular detection of the virus. As Iceland has very restricted legislation regarding animal imports, the questions of how this virus has entered the country and to what extent markers of Bornavirus infection can be found in humans and animals in Iceland remain to be answered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77
Number of pages1
JournalActa Veterinaria Scandinavica
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to acknowledge Linda Forslund and Lena Renström (National Veterinary Institute, Sweden) for assistance with the serology. Financial support from the Swedish Foundation of Equine Research (H0747211) and the Companion Animal Research Foundation of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences is greatly acknowledged.


Dive into the research topics of 'Serological markers of Bornavirus infection found in horses in Iceland'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this