equine assay data sheet
African horse sickness (AHS)
code: S0061 - Ultrasensitive qualitative detection of African horse
sickness virus by reverse transcription coupled real time
polymerase chain reaction
horse sickness virus (AHSV) belongs to the genus
Orbivirus in the
and is transmitted by
Culicoides species midges, of which
C. imicola is
considered the most important. There are nine AHSV serotypes
with significant genomic differences.
genome is composed of ten double-stranded RNA segments which
encode at least ten viral proteins. The genome segments are
numbered 1–10 in order of their migration in PAGE. Seven of the
viral proteins are structural and form the double-shelled virus
horse sickness (AHS) caused by this virus is associated with
high morbidity and mortality in equine species. AHS is enzootic
in southern, eastern, western and central Africa and probably in
Yemen. Epizootics have occurred outside these regions on several
occasions (Mellor, 1994; Mellor and Hamblin, 2004). For example,
Spain experienced an outbreak of AHS in 1987–1989 following
importation of zebras from Namibia (Rodriguez et al., 1993). The
disease caused by AHSV serotype 4 (AHSV 4) also has been
detected in Portugal (1989) and in Morocco (1989-1991).
testing for AHSV is not practical because of the numerous
serotypes of the virus. Molecular detection of AHSV is the best
alternative for rapid diagnosis of AHSV. RT-PCR is a sensitive
and rapid method for detecting AHSV nucleic acids during either
the incubation period at the start of an African horse sickness
(AHS) epizootic, or for epidemiological investigations in
species where clinical signs may not be apparent.
Confirm the disease causing agent
Shorten the time required to confirm a clinical
diagnosis of AHSV infection.
Ensure that horse populations are free of AHS
Early prevention of spread of this virus
Minimize personnel exposure to this virus
Safety monitoring of biological products that derive
Mellor, P.S. (1994). Epizootiology and vectors of African horse
sickness virus. Comparative Immunology, Microbiology and
Infectious Diseases 17:287-296.
Mellor, P.S. and Hamblin, C.
(2004). African horse sickness. Veterinary Research 35:445-466.
Rodriguez, M., Hooghuis, H. and Castano, M. (1993). Current
status of the diagnosis and control of African horse sickness.
Veterinary Research 24:189-197.
Specimen requirements: 0.2 ml whole blood in EDTA (purple top) or ACD (yellow top)
tube, or 0.2 ml plasma or serum, or 0.2 ml fresh or frozen
types other than those listed here, please call to confirm
specimen acceptability and shipping instructions.
specimen types, if there will be a delay in shipping, or during
very warm weather, refrigerate specimens until shipped and ship
with a cold pack unless more stringent shipping requirements are
specified. Frozen specimens should be shipped so as to remain
frozen in transit. See shipping
instructions for more information.
2 business days
reverse transcription coupled real time PCR