Research: Equine Infectious Anemia in 2014; Live With It or Eradicate It?

Editor’s Note: In this article in Veterinary Clinics of North America: Equine Practice (Volume 30, Issue 3, December 2014, pages 561-577) the authors discuss the equine industry’s crossroads with equine infectious anemia (EIA). Their article titled “Equine Infectious Anemia in 2014; Live With It or Eradicate It?” looks at what the next steps could be in controlling or eradicating this disease in the United States. This article can be found on

Key Points

  • Equine infectious anemia (EIA) control programs in the United States have been effective, although they are now at a crossroads in that the mobile and tested population is mostly segregated and, therefore, at low risk from untested equids that constitute the remaining reservoir for EIA virus (EIAV).
  • Consequently, the goals of testing should be reexamined, “smarter” testing conducted by increasing the intervals between tests for frequently tested equid populations, and strategies developed to increase testing of the untested reservoir population.
  • In many areas, required testing at change of ownership has proved invaluable in the identification of new cases.
  • In areas of the world where working equids are still important agricultural animals and EIA is endemic, strategies other than destruction without compensation must be developed if control of EIA in more than localized situations is the goal.
  • Additional research is required to improve direct detection techniques such as polymerase chain reaction–based methods for amplification of EIAV genetic material.
  • The most important recommendation is to assume that all equid contacts are infected with EIAV.


Charles J. Issel, DVM, PhD, R. Frank Cook, PhD, and David W. Horohov, MS, PhD, Department of Veterinary Science, Maxwell H. Gluck Equine Research Center, University of Kentucky; Robert H. Mealey, DVM, PhD, Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Washington State University.

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