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Avian Dis. 2003;47(3 Suppl):931-3.

A primate model to study the pathogenesis of influenza A (H5N1) virus infection.

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Institute of Virology, National Influenza Center, Erasmus Medical Center, Dr. Molewaterplein 50, 3015 GE Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


Cynomolgus macaques (Macaca fascicularis) infected with influenza virus A/HongKong/156/97 (H5N1) developed acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) with fever. Reverse transcriptase/polymerase chain reaction (RT/PCR) and virus isolation showed that the respiratory tract is the major target of the virus. The main lesion observed upon necropsy, performed 4 or 7 days postinfection, was a necrotizing bronchointerstitial pneumonia, similar to that found in primary influenza pneumonia in human beings. By immunohistochemistry, influenza virus antigen proved to be limited to pulmonary tissue and tonsils. The data indicate that ARDS and multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS), observed in both humans and monkeys infected with this virus, are caused by diffuse alveolar damage from virus replication in the lungs alone.

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