Gesundheit für Mensch, Tier & Pflanze

Borna Virus

Borna-Disease-Virus (BoDV-1)

Profile

Borna disease (also called contagious equine encephalitis) is a viral disease that mainly affects horses and sheep. In the past ten years, numerous new Borna viruses have been discovered in birds and reptiles, which can be clearly distinguished from the causative agent of Borna disease in horses.

Occurrence

In parts of Eastern and Southern Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein

Host animals

Shrews

Infection route

Via urine, faeces and saliva

Symptoms

Horses show behavioural changes, movement disorders, compulsive movements, empty chewing, lowered head posture, teeth grinding, frightfulness, in the final stage lying down.

Therapie

Es gibt keine Therapie

Situation in Austria

In Austria, the virus has so far only been detected sporadically in animals - in the past four years, 4 cases of Bornasch disease have been detected in horses.

In humans, no case of inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) caused by Bornavirus has yet occurred in Austria. In Germany, infections of humans with classical bornavirus (BoDV-1) were detected for the first time in 2018.

Technical information

Shrews are considered to be the pathogen reservoir of the classical Borna disease virus (BoDV-1): they carry the virus throughout their lives without becoming ill themselves. In the last ten years, numerous new Borna viruses have been discovered in birds and reptiles, which can be clearly distinguished from the pathogen causing Borna disease in horses. These include bornavirus of squirrels (VSBV-1), which was described as causing central nervous disease in breeders of variegated squirrels in Germany in 2015.

Borna disease was first described in 1813. It received its name when a large number of cavalry horses in the town of Borna in Germany became ill in 1894. More recently, disease has also been reported in cattle, goats, cats, and monkeys. Cases of disease in animals in Austria are very rare: In the 1990-ies there were two cases in horses and one case in dogs in Vorarlberg. Vorarlberg is considered an area where classical bornavirus is endemic. In 1998, an isolated case was diagnosed in a horse in Styria. In 2015 and 2016, four horses became ill in a region of Upper Austria. Clinical symptoms in animals are behavioural changes, movement disorders, forced movements, empty chewing, lowered head posture, teeth grinding, frightfulness, in the final stage recumbency. Similar symptoms can be caused by encephalitis pathogens such as West Nile virus, TBE, Japanese encephalitis virus or rabies as well as by various poisonings. In Austria, all clinical forms of encephalitis in horses are notifiable (§16 Tierseuchengesetz). Dead/uthanized animals (organs) with suspected encephalitis must be sent to the competent NRL for equine encephalomyelitis (AGES Mödling).

In humans, no case of inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) caused by bornaviruses has yet occurred in Austria. In Germany, infections of humans with classical bornavirus (BoDV-1) were detected for the first time in 2018.

Information of the Robert Koch Institute

Information of the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institute

Contact

Institut für veterinärmedizinische Untersuchungen Mödling

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