In general, herpes viruses are considered to be specific to a single species or group of related animals. Recent research findings contradict this assumption by showing that two equine herpes viruses (type 1 and type 9) have evolved an unusual broad host range. Despite favoring African herbivores these viruses can jump beyond their natural hosts, infecting polar bears and other distantly related species and causing fatalities. Interestingly, herpes virus type 9 (EHV-9) may use the African rhinoceroses as a possible natural host or reservoir.
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