Transmission of Aerosolized Seasonal H1N1 Influenza A to Ferrets
by Heather MacInnes, Yue Zhou, Kristine Gouveia, Jenna Cromwell, Kristin Lowery, R. Colby Layton, Michael Zubelewicz, Rangarajan Sampath, Steven Hofstadler, Yushi Liu, Yung-Sung Cheng, Frederick Koster
Influenza virus is a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide, yet little quantitative understanding of transmission is available to guide evidence-based public health practice. Recent studies of influenza non-contact transmission between ferrets and guinea pigs have provided insights into the relative transmission efficiencies of pandemic and seasonal strains, but the infecting dose and subsequent contagion has not been quantified for most strains. In order to measure the aerosol infectious dose for 50% (aID50) of seronegative ferrets, seasonal influenza virus was nebulized into an exposure chamber with controlled airflow limiting inhalation to airborne particles less than 5 µm diameter. Airborne virus was collected by liquid impinger and Teflon filters during nebulization of varying doses of aerosolized virus. Since culturable virus was accurately captured on filters only up to 20 minutes, airborne viral RNA collected during 1-hour exposures was quantified by two assays, a high-throughput RT-PCR/mass spectrometry assay detecting 6 genome segments (Ibis T5000™ Biosensor system) and a standard real time RT-qPCR assay. Using the more sensitive T5000 assay, the aID50 for A/New Caledonia/20/99 (H1N1) was approximately 4 infectious virus particles under the exposure conditions used. Although seroconversion and sustained levels of viral RNA in upper airway secretions suggested established mucosal infection, viral cultures were almost always negative. Thus after inhalation, this seasonal H1N1 virus may replicate less efficiently than H3N2 virus after mucosal deposition and exhibit less contagion after aerosol exposure.
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Syndicated from:PLoS ONE
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