Pathogenesis and transmission of triple-reassortant swine H1N1 influenza viruses isolated before the 2009 H1N1 pandemic.J Virol. 2011 Feb; 85(4):1563-72.JV
The 2009 H1N1 pandemic influenza virus represents the greatest incidence of human infection with an influenza virus of swine origin to date. Moreover, triple-reassortant swine (TRS) H1N1 viruses, which share similar host and lineage origins with 2009 H1N1 viruses, have been responsible for sporadic human cases since 2005. Similar to 2009 H1N1 viruses, TRS viruses are capable of causing severe disease in previously healthy individuals and frequently manifest with gastrointestinal symptoms; however, their ability to cause severe disease has not been extensively studied. Here, we evaluated the pathogenicity and transmissibility of two TRS viruses associated with disease in humans in the ferret model. TRS and 2009 H1N1 viruses exhibited comparable viral titers and histopathologies following virus infection and were similarly unable to transmit efficiently via respiratory droplets in the ferret model. Utilizing TRS and 2009 H1N1 viruses, we conducted extensive hematologic and blood serum analyses on infected ferrets to identify lymphohematopoietic parameters associated with mild to severe influenza virus infection. Following H1N1 or H5N1 influenza virus infection, ferrets were found to recapitulate several laboratory abnormalities previously documented with human disease, furthering the utility of the ferret model for the assessment of influenza virus pathogenicity.