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African Horse Sickness, ELISA - Equigerminal

African Horse Sickness, ELISA

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Pathogen test 

  • The ELISA test detects antibodies to the African Horse Sickness Virus (AHSV).


  • 5 mL - blood - serum tube

Turnaround time

  • 2 to 5 working days


What is African Horse Sickness?

  • African Horse Sickness (AHS) is a serious, often fatal disease of horses, mules, and donkeys. The virus is spread by infected insects (biting midges) and causes fever and, heart and respiratory (breathing) problems in affected animals. Death is common and can occur suddenly.
  • The disease primarily occurs in Africa, but outbreaks have been reported in Egypt, parts of the Middle East, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Pakistan and India. African horse sickness has not occurred in the United States.
  • AHS does not affect humans, so there are no human or public health implications.

Clinical signs

  • African Horse Sickness can cause respiratory (lung) disease, cardiac (heart) disease, or a cyclic fever. Death rates can be as high as 95% for some forms of the disease.
  • The pulmonary or respiratory form occurs rapidly (within days).
  • Signs of disease include fever, difficulty breathing, coughing, sweating, and frothy discharge from the nostrils. Death usually occurs within a few hours after illness is seen.
  • The cardiac form of the disease causes fever and swelling (edema) around the eyes, lips, cheeks, tongue, and neck. Death usually occurs due to heart failure.
  • Some affected animals may have both pulmonary and cardiac signs of disease.
  • Some animals may only develop a cyclic fever (high in the afternoon, gone in the morning). These animals may also have depression and a decreased appetite. Animals with this horse sickness fever form of AHS will typically recover.


  • AHS virus cannot be transmitted directly from horse to horse (or directly between any equine animals).
  • Virus transmission between horses, donkeys and zebras occurs via small insect vectors known as midges (Culicoides species).
  • The virus can also be mechanically transmitted through transfusion of infected blood products or through unhygienic practices (e.g. use of contaminated surgical equipment or hypodermic needles).
  • It is unknown whether AHS can be transmitted by semen or ova from infected animals.
  • Dogs can become infected with AHS through eating meat from an infected horse, donkey or zebra.


  • The best way to protect animals from AHS is to decrease their exposure to biting midges and other insects (e.g., mosquitoes and biting flies).
  • Stabling horses in insect-proof housing, particularly between dusk and dawn when the insects are most active, can help prevent exposure.
  • Insect repellents and insecticides may also be useful. Monitor your horse’s temperature. Horses with fevers should be examined by your veterinarian.
  • There is no comercial vaccine for any serotype of AHS currently available in Europe. A vaccine bank is being developed by the European Commission that will hold 100,000 doses of vaccine against seven different AHS serotypes. This vaccine will only be used in a strictly controlled manner in an emergency situation