Selected isolates of equine encephalosis virus were shown to have comparable viral protein profiles and to represent seven distinct serotypes, based on cross-neutralization tests. Serotype-specific virus-neutralizing antibody in serum samples from horses confirmed the widespread occurrence of infection. The distribution and prevalence of individual serotypes however, varied considerably. Localised foci with an increased seasonal seroconversion in groups of horses to a specific serotype and the detection of an ongoing low level of infection from other serotypes within the population, confirmed the independent persistence of the viruses in a maintenance cycle. The identification of donors with antibody resulting from infection with multiple serotypes indicated a low level of cross protection in horses to natural reinfection.
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