Voluntary Surveillance Program for Equine Influenza Virus in the United States during 2008-2021

A voluntary upper respiratory biosurveillance program in the USA received 9740 nasal swab submissions during the years 2008-2021 from 333 veterinarians and veterinary clinics. The nasal swabs were submitted for qPCR testing for six common upper respiratory pathogens:equine influenza virus (EIV), equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1), equine herpesvirus-4 (EHV-4), Streptococcus equi subspecies equi (S. equi), equine rhinitis A virus (ERAV), and equine rhinitis B virus (ERBV). Additional testing was performed for equine gamma herpesvirus-2 (EHV-2) and equine gamma herpesvirus-5 (EHV-5) and the results are reported. Basic frequency statistics and multivariate logistic regression models were utilized to determine the associations between risk factors and EIV positivity. The EIV qPCR-positivity rate was 9.9%. Equids less than 9 years of age with a recent history of travel and seasonal occurrence in winter and spring were the most common population that were qPCR positive for EIV. This ongoing biosurveillance program emphasizes the need for molecular testing for pathogen identification, which is critical for decisions associated with therapeutics and biosecurity intervention for health management and vaccine evaluations and development.