Balseiro et al.
Goats naturally infected with the Spanish goat encephalitis virus (SGEV): Pathological features and an outbreak.
Animals. 2023;13(1):72.

Based on the current taxonomic classification, the louping ill virus (LIV) belongs to the tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) virus complex, and this virus contains various subtypes, including the British, Irish, Turkish and Spanish variants. Although many domestic animals and wildlife species can become infected with LIV, only sheep and red grouse (Lagopus lagopus scotia) are believed to develop a viremia sufficient to infect ticks. LIV is endemic in Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales, while the LI-like disease in the north of Spain (Basque Country) is caused by the LIV variant Spanish sheep encephalomyelitis virus (SSEV).

An outbreak of SSEV has been described in Asturias (in northern Spain, close to the Basque region) in autumn 2011 in a herd of goats. Whole genome sequencing and phylogenetic analyses showed significant divergence from SSEV. This virus was classified as a new subtype of LIV and was named Spanish goat encephalitis virus (SGEV).

Detailed pathological examinations were carried out on affected goats and are described in this contribution.

The authors concluded that SGEV should be considered a significant pathogen of goats that results in severe neurological clinical disease and high mortality. Even if goats are found not to be efficient maintenance hosts for SGEV, excretion of the virus in milk destined for human consumption could be a hazard to public health.

TBE Book