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Institute of Diagnostic Virology (IVD)

National Reference Laboratory for Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD)

Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) is a viral infection of domestic and wild ruminants. White tailed deer and other free-ranging ruminants are most affected. EHD is a notifiable disease. It has the same host spectrum as bluetongue, and clinical symptoms are similar. Among domestic ruminants, cattle are most affected by EHD. Morbidity can be as high as 20%, but mortality is usually low. Still, EHD infection of cattle can cause tremendous production losses, especially in dairies.

Passive surveillance for EHD is hindered by the similarity of its symptoms to bluetongue disease. Active monitoring of disease incidence is currently not feasible, because there are no commercially available serological assays.

EHD virus (EHDV) is closely related to bluetongue virus (BTV) and belongs to the same taxonomical genus (Orbivirus; family Reoviridae). They can be differentiated on the genetic level by RT-PCR and sequencing. Serological differentiation by monoclonal antibodies is also possible. There are 8 recognized serotypes of EHDV which can be differentiated by neutralization assays. Like BTV, EHDV is spread by Culicoides insects.

  • Primary contact for federal and state authorities regarding EHDV detection and control
  • Virus isolation and EHDV serotyping
  • Reference collection of virus strains, genome and serum samples
  • Development, standardization and improvement of EHDV-specific diagnostic methods
  • Participation in EU ring trials, working groups and research projects
  • Virus isolation by cell culture inoculation and intravenous injection of embryonated chicken eggs
  • Pan-EHDV genome detection by diverse RT-qPCR methods
  • Type-specific detection of EHDV genome by RT-PCR and sequencing
  • Strain characterization by genome sequencing
  • Some EHDV strains
  • EHDV antibody-positive sera
  • Optimization of EHDV detection and characterization by RT-qPCR
  • Establishment of a serum neutralization assay for EHDV
  • Council Directive 92/119/EEC introducing general Community measures for the control of certain animal diseases and specific measures relating to swine vesicular disease
  • Verordnung über anzeigepflichtige Tierseuchen
  • Tierimpfstoffverordnung