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Contact transmission of vesicular stomatitis virus New Jersey in pigs

David E. StallknechtSoutheastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602.

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Deborah E. PerzakSoutheastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602.

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Leslie D. BauerSoutheastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602.

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Molly D. MurphyDepartment of Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602.

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Elizabeth W. HowerthDepartment of Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602.

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Abstract

Objective—To determine how viral shedding and development or lack of clinical disease relate to contact transmission of vesicular stomatitis virus New Jersey (VSV-NJ) in pigs and determine whether pigs infected by contact could infect other pigs by contact.

Animals—63 pigs.

Procedure—Serologically naive pigs were housed in direct contact with pigs that were experimentally inoculated with VSV-NJ via ID inoculation of the apex of the snout, application to a scarified area of the oral mucosa, application to intact oral mucosa, or ID inoculation of the ear. In a second experiment, pigs infected with VSV-NJ by contact were moved and housed with additional naive pigs. Pigs were monitored and sampled daily for clinical disease and virus isolation and were serologically tested before and after infection or contact.

Results—Contact transmission developed only when vesicular lesions were evident. Transmission developed rapidly; contact pigs shed virus as early as 1 day after contact. In pens in which contact transmission was detected, 2 of 3 or 3 of 3 contact pigs were infected.

Conclusion and Clinical Relevance—Transmission was lesion-dependent; however, vesicular lesions often were subtle with few or no clinical signs of infection. Contact transmission was efficient, with resulting infections ranging from subclinical (detected only by seroconversion) to clinical (development of vesicular lesions). Long-term maintenance of VSV-NJ via contact transmission alone appears unlikely. Pigs represent an efficient large-animal system for further study of VSV-NJ pathogenesis and transmission. (Am J Vet Res 2001;62:516–520)

Abstract

Objective—To determine how viral shedding and development or lack of clinical disease relate to contact transmission of vesicular stomatitis virus New Jersey (VSV-NJ) in pigs and determine whether pigs infected by contact could infect other pigs by contact.

Animals—63 pigs.

Procedure—Serologically naive pigs were housed in direct contact with pigs that were experimentally inoculated with VSV-NJ via ID inoculation of the apex of the snout, application to a scarified area of the oral mucosa, application to intact oral mucosa, or ID inoculation of the ear. In a second experiment, pigs infected with VSV-NJ by contact were moved and housed with additional naive pigs. Pigs were monitored and sampled daily for clinical disease and virus isolation and were serologically tested before and after infection or contact.

Results—Contact transmission developed only when vesicular lesions were evident. Transmission developed rapidly; contact pigs shed virus as early as 1 day after contact. In pens in which contact transmission was detected, 2 of 3 or 3 of 3 contact pigs were infected.

Conclusion and Clinical Relevance—Transmission was lesion-dependent; however, vesicular lesions often were subtle with few or no clinical signs of infection. Contact transmission was efficient, with resulting infections ranging from subclinical (detected only by seroconversion) to clinical (development of vesicular lesions). Long-term maintenance of VSV-NJ via contact transmission alone appears unlikely. Pigs represent an efficient large-animal system for further study of VSV-NJ pathogenesis and transmission. (Am J Vet Res 2001;62:516–520)