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Equine herpesviruses type 1 and 4 (EHV-1 and EHV-4) are ubiquitous in the equine population. One of their main properties is their ability to establish life-long latent infections in their hosts even in those with natural or vaccine-induced immunity. However, effect of vaccination status on prevalence and tissue tropism was not established. In this study, EHV-1 and EHV-4 were detected by polymerase chain reaction and by classical virus isolation from neural, epithelial and lymphoid tissues collected from unvaccinated (33) or vaccinated (23) horses. The percentage of EHV-1- and EHV-4-positive horses between vaccinates and unvaccinates was similar. Both viruses were detected in all tissues of both groups; in particular, lymph nodes draining the respiratory tract, nasal epithelium and nervous ganglia [i.e. trigeminal ganglia (TG)], which represent the main positive sites for EHV-1 and EHV-4. In vaccinated animals, the nervous ganglia (i.e. TG) were less frequently positive than in unvaccinated animals. Detection of positive TG was strongly correlated to the presence of EHV-1 in nasal epithelium.