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Title: Ferrets develop fatal influenza after inhaling small particle aerosols of highly pathogenic avian influenza virus A/Vietnam/1203/2004 (H5N1)

Author
item Lednicky, John - Midwest Research Institute
item Hamilton, Sara - Midwest Research Institute
item Tuttle, Richard - Midwest Research Institute
item Sosna, William - Midwest Research Institute
item Daniels, Deidre - Midwest Research Institute
item Swayne, David

Submitted to: Virology Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/15/2010
Publication Date: 9/1/2010
Publication URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/61386
Citation: Lednicky, J.A., Hamilton, S.B., Tuttle, R., Sosna, W.A., Daniels, D.E., Swayne, D.E. 2010. Ferrets develop fatal influenza after inhaling small particle aerosols of highly pathogenic avian influenza virus A/Vietnam/1203/2004 (H5N1). Virology Journal. 7:231.

Interpretive Summary: There is limited knowledge about the potential ways the H5N1 influenza virus is transmitted to and between people. Virus exposure through small particles or aerosols has been suggested. We used ferrets as a model animal to study nose-only bioaerosol inhalation exposure to H5N1 virus. We determined aerosolized H5N1 is highly infectious and lethal in ferrets, with infection and death occurring earlier than by intranasal exposure.

Technical Abstract: There is limited knowledge about the potential routes for H5N1 influenza virus transmission to and between humans, and it is not clear whether humans can be infected through inhalation of aerosolized H5N1 virus particles. Ferrets are often used as a surrogate for humans in influenza pathogenicity and transmissibility studies. In this paper, we describe the development of a nose-only bioaerosol inhalation exposure system for studies of aerosolized H5N1 virus in ferrets. We then compared the clinical spectrum of influenza resulting from exposure to H5N1 virus through intranasal and inhalation routes. This study indicates that aerosolized H5N1 is highly infectious and lethal in ferrets. Furthermore, clinical symptoms arise earlier after inhalation of aerosolized virus compared to those from droplet infection as modeled by intranasal instillation.