Theiler's disease, which was first reported in 1919, is reportedly one of the commonest causes of acute hepatitis in horses. Researchers at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine have recently identified a virus as the likely cause of the disease.1 The virus, which they have named Theiler's disease-associated virus (TDAV) is novel, but is in the same virus family (Flaviviridae) as human hepatitis C virus. Theiler's disease is primarily associated with administration of equine blood products, in particular passive immunotherapy; this practice is possibly less common in the UK than in the US, resulting in fewer cases. Nonetheless, researchers at the University of Nottingham with expertise in equine viral diseases and hepatitis C virus would gratefully receive serum samples to be tested for the presence of TDAV from anyone seeing cases of acute hepatic disease.

For further information, please contact Dr Janet Daly (janet.daly@nottingham.ac.uk).

1 http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/03/15/1219217110