Horses naturally exposed to West Nile Virus (WNV) or vaccinated against WNV develop humoral immunity thought to be protective against development of clinical disease in exposed or infected animals. No reports evaluate the efficacy of passive transfer of naturally acquired specific WNV humoral immunity from dam to foal. The purpose of this study was to investigate passive transfer of naturally acquired immunity to WNV to foals born in a herd of semi-feral ponies, not vaccinated against WNV, in an endemic area, with many dams having seroconverted because of natural exposure. Microwell serum neutralization titers against WNV were determined in all mares and foals. Serum IgG concentration was determined in foals by serial radial immunodiffusion. Differences in IgG concentration between seropositive and seronegative foals were examined by means of the Mann-Whitney U-test. Linear regression was used to evaluate the association between mare and foal titers. Seventeen mare-foal pairs were studied; 1 foal had inadequate IgG concentration. IgG concentration was not different between seronegative and seropositive foals (P = .24). Mare and foal titers were significantly correlated in foals with adequate passive transfer of immunity (Spearman's rho = .84; P < .001); >90% of the foal's titer was explained by the mare's titer (R2 = 0.91; P < .001). Passive transfer of specific immunity to WNV is present in pony foals with adequate passive transfer of immunity born to seroconverted mares.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||3|
|Journal||Journal of veterinary internal medicine|
|State||Published - Jul 2006|
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