An investigation into the infamous horse flu has uncovered that an initial viral infection followed by the contraction of a streptococcal infection, which worsens the animals’ condition, may be to blame for the outbreak in Iceland, according to chief veterinarian Halldór Runólfsson. Visir.is reports this.
He says that clues leading to these new discoveries have been uncovered during research at Keldur, the Institute for Experimental Pathology.
Photo by Páll Kjartansson.
Yesterday Runólfsson met with veterinarians Susanne Braun and Björn Steinbjörnsson. Braun has worked independently in the field of horse medicine in Iceland for years. Steinbjörnsson, a veterinarian at the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority, has assisted Braun in his spare time.
“They have conducted independent research on the horse flu and registered their findings,” explains Runólfsson.
“They told me that they believe that the cause is a herpes infection, but more research has to be done before anything is asserted. We have diagnosed strains of herpes but a follow-up of these clues is necessary before it is decided that something new is happening here.”
The current theory is that the viral infection at the beginning of the flu weakens the horses’ resistance against the ensuing streptococcal virus and causes an infected discharge from their nose, as well as coughing.
Yesterday the government agreed to give a 20 million ISK research grant to the institute.
“This way, we can continue our research. We will work as fast as possible because people are concerned about the coming winter and fear that the flu might escalate again.”