Twenty-one blood samples of free-ranging mountain zebras (Equus zebra) from Namibia were tested for equine herpesvirus (EHV-1, -2, -3, -4) specific antibodies by immunofluorescence assay (IFA) and neutralization test (NT). Additionally, type-specific nested polymerase chain reactions (nested PCR) were employed for detection of EHV-1, -2 and -4 DNA. Equine herpesvirus-1 antibodies were detected by IFA in all zebras, while only seven serum samples contained EHV-4 IFA antibodies. Sera with high IFA antibodies also were found to neutralize EHV-1 and -4. Furthermore, 20 zebras were EHV-2 seropositive by IFA, and one zebra had EHV-2 neutralizing antibodies. Equine herpesvirus-3 specific antibodies were not detected. We did not amplify EHV-1, -2 or -4 specific DNA sequences in peripheral blood leukocytes of the same zebras using type-specific nested PCR. EHV infections appear to be widespread in free-ranging zebras, as they are in domestic horses.
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Vol. 33 • No. 4