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Pathogenesis of highly virulent African swine fever virus in domestic pigs exposed via intraoropharyngeal, intranasopharyngeal, and intramuscular inoculation, and by direct contact with infected pigs

Erin B. Howey, Vivian O’Donnell, Helena C. de Carvalho Ferreira, Manuel V. Borca, Jonathan Arzt
Virus research 2013 v.178 no.2 pp. 328-339
African swine fever, virulence, viremia, vaccines, tonsils, swine, pathogenesis, nasal cavity, exposure duration, disease course, direct contact, death, African swine fever virus, animal disease models, drug delivery systems, vaccine development, viral shedding
To investigate the pathogenesis of African swine fever virus (ASFV), domestic pigs (n=18) were challenged with a range (10²–10⁶ 50% hemadsorbing doses (HAD₅₀)) of the highly virulent ASFV-Malawi strain by inoculation via the intraoropharyngeal (IOP), intranasopharyngeal (INP), or intramuscular (IM) routes. A subsequent contact challenge experiment was performed in which six IOP-inoculated donor pigs were allowed to have direct contact (DC) with six naïve pigs for exposure times that varied from 24 to 72h. All challenge routes resulted in clinical progression and postmortem lesions similar to those previously described in experimental and natural infection. The onset of clinical signs occurred between 1 and 7 days post inoculation (dpi) and included pyrexia with variable progression to obtundation, hematochezia, melena, moribundity and death with a duration of 4–11 days. Viremia was first detected between 4 and 5dpi in all inoculation groups whereas ASFV shedding from the nasal cavity and tonsil was first detected at 3–9dpi. IM and DC were the most consistent modes of infection, with 12/12 (100%) of pigs challenged by these routes becoming infected. Several clinical and virological parameters were significantly different between IM and DC groups indicating dissimilarity between these modes of infection. Amongst the simulated natural routes, INP inoculation resulted in the most consistent progression of disease across the widest range of doses whilst preserving simulation of natural exposure and therefore may provide a superior system for pathogenesis and vaccine efficacy investigation.