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Vet J. 2008 Aug;177(2):159-68. Epub 2007 May 16.

Foot-and-mouth disease: a review of intranasal infection of cattle, sheep and pigs.

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4 Pewley Way, Guildford, Surrey, UK.


In an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) it is important to identify animals at risk from airborne virus. Investigations have been carried out over the years to determine the dose required to infect cattle, sheep and pigs by the intranasal route. This paper reviews the results of investigations for animals which have been infected by instillation or spraying a virus suspension into the nostrils or by exposure to affected animals through a mask or by indirect contact. The lowest doses were found by use of a mask. With virus from affected pigs given through a mask, doses of 18 infectious units (IU) in cattle and 8 IU in sheep were found to cause infection and give rise to lesions. Overall, cattle required the least amount of virus followed by sheep. Pigs required a dose of 22 IU to cause infection and a dose of 125 IU to give rise to lesions. In many experiments pigs failed to become infected. With all three species the dose varied with the individual animal and the virus strain. For modelling previous outbreaks and in real time, a dose of 8 IU or 10 and 50% infectious doses (ID50) could be used where cattle and sheep were involved. Experience in the field, combined with the results from experiments involving natural infection, indicate that pigs are not readily infected by the intranasal route. However, for modelling purposes a dose of about 25 IU should be used with care. Investigations are needed to determine doses for virus strains currently in circulation around the world. In addition, the nature of the aerosol droplets needs to be analysed to determine how the respective amounts of infective and non-infective virus particles, host components and, in later emissions, the presence of antibody affect the survival in air and ability to infect the respiratory tract. Further work is also required to correlate laboratory and field findings through incorporation of the doses into modelling the virus concentration downwind in order that those responsible for controlling FMD are provided with the best available assessment of airborne spread. Finally, the doses found for infection by the intranasal route could be applied to other methods of spread where virus is inhaled to assess risk.

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