Main content area

Comparative Pathology of Select Agent Influenza A Virus Infections

Kuiken, T., van den Brand, J., van Riel, D., Pantin-Jackwood, M., Swayne, D. E.
Influenza A virus, Macaca fascicularis, animal models, antiviral agents, avian influenza, bacterial pneumonia, birds, carnivores, cats, ferrets, guinea pigs, humans, laboratory animals, mice, mortality, pathogenesis, swine, vaccines, viral pneumonia, viremia, virus transmission, viruses
Influenza A virus infections may spread rapidly in human populations and cause variable mortality. Two of these influenza viruses have been designated as select agents: 1918 H1N1 virus and highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus. Knowledge of the pathology of these virus infections in humans, other naturally infected species, and experimental animals is important to understand the pathogenesis of influenza, to design appropriate models for evaluation of medical countermeasures, and to make correct diagnoses. The most important complication of influenza in humans is viral pneumonia, which often occurs with or is followed by bacterial pneumonia. Viremia and extrarespiratory disease are uncommon. HPAI viruses, including HPAI H5N1 virus, cause severe systemic disease in galliform species as well as in anseriform species and bird species of other orders. HPAI H5N1 virus infection also causes severe disease in humans and several species of carnivores. Experimental animals are used to model different aspects of influenza in humans, including uncomplicated influenza, pneumonia, and virus transmission. The most commonly used experimental animal species are laboratory mouse, domestic ferret, and cynomolgus macaque. Experimental influenza virus infections are performed in various other species, including domestic pig, guinea pig, and domestic cat. Each of these species has advantages and disadvantages that need to be assessed before choosing the most appropriate model to reach a particular goal. Such animal models may be applied for the development of more effective antiviral drugs and vaccines to protect humans from the threat of these virus infections.