Horse coronavirus is not contagious to humans


According to Prof.dr. Marianne Sloet of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Utrecht, the horse corona virus is not contagious for humans and other animal species. She recently informed the Horse Sector Council. Many animal species, including humans, have many types of coronaviruses. In principle, these different types of coronaviruses are species-specific and therefore usually remain with their ‘own’ species.

For example, the horse has had ECoV (Equine Corona Virus) for a number of years. This virus occurs in foals with and without diarrhea and sometimes also in adult horses. It can cause fever, lack of appetite, sometimes mild colic and diarrhea or weak manure. This virus type is not contagious to other animal species, nor to humans. However, the ECoV does spread quickly among horses, because it is very contagious for horses and has a short time between coming into contact with the virus and developing symptoms of disease. However, many horses are not affected by the infection at all.

CCV (Canine Corona Virus) is found in dogs and FCV (Feline Corona Virus) in cats. These virus types are also very host-specific and therefore not a problem for humans.


Humans have their own coronaviruses. The first cases of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) appeared in China in 2002. The causative agent of SARS is the SARS-CoV and this virus can cause severe pneumonia. In September 2012, MERS-CoV (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome virus) was discovered. This virus is still circulating, especially in the Middle East.

New type

A new type of coronavirus broke out in China at the end of 2019. Also known as Wuhan virus, this virus is referred to by its scientific name SARS-CoV-2 and can cause the disease COVID-19 (Corona Virus Disease – 19). Very drastic measures are currently being taken worldwide to curb the consequences of this virus.

For the horse owner: the current coronavirus infection in humans (COVID-19) and the coronavirus in horses (ECoV) therefore belong to the same virus group from the point of view of virus research, but in practice have nothing to do with each other. Man does not get sick from the horse coronavirus and the horse does not get sick from the human coronaviruses.

Source: Horses Sector Council/KWPN


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