Equine infectious anemia (EIA) is listed by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) as one of the equine diseases that must be notified. No effective treatment or vaccine is available. EIA control is based on segregation and euthanasia of positive equids. The disease is caused by the equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV), a member of the genus Lentivirus of the Retroviridae family. Despite the importance of this disease in equids, EIA has been poorly studied in donkeys (Equus asinus). We evaluate the sanitary conditions related to EIAV in donkeys from a shelter of abandoned animals captured on the roads of the Ceará. A total of 124 donkeys were randomly selected, and three horses lived at the same shelter. The animals were clinically evaluated, and a group of the 20 animals was submitted to hematological tests. Three diagnostic tests for EIA were used, agar gel immunodiffusion (AGID), enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) using EIAV recombinant protein gp90 (rgp90) and recombinant protein p26 (rp26) ELISA, and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for detection of the EIAV tat-gag gene. From the donkeys, only 1 animal was positive using AGID 0.81% (1/124), compared to 21.8% (27/124) in the rgp90 and 10.5% (13/124) in the rp26 ELISA. Proviral DNA was detected by PCR tat-gag in 8.8% (11/124), and phylogenetic analysis confirms that the EIAV sequences of donkeys from the Brazilian Northeast grouped with Pantanal Brazilian sequences. Thus, in light of the results, we conclude that donkeys are carriers of EIAV and could be sources of infection.
Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier Inc.