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J Gen Virol. 2009 Feb;90(Pt 2):323-333. doi: 10.1099/vir.0.005108-0.

A prairie dog animal model of systemic orthopoxvirus disease using West African and Congo Basin strains of monkeypox virus.

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, MS G-43, 1600 Clifton Road NE, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA.
Department of Pathobiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706, USA.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, MS G-12, 1600 Clifton Road NE, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA.


Multiple monkeypox virus (MPXV) animal models have been discussed in previous studies, but no small animal models, nor most non-human primate models, demonstrated the protracted asymptomatic incubation phase seen in systemic human orthopoxvirus illness. Herein, we characterize a black-tailed prairie dog (PD) (Cynomys ludovicianus) model of infection, via intranasal and intradermal exposures, with the two MPXV clades. Daily observations of the animals were made (food consumption, general symptoms, disease presentation), while weights and virus evaluations (ocular, nasal, oropharyngeal, faeces, blood) were obtained/made every third day. Generalized rash became apparent 9-12 days post-infection for all animals. Individual animals demonstrated a range of symptoms consistent with human monkeypox disease. Measurable viraemias and excretas were similar for both clade-representative strains and persisted until at least day 21. Greater morbidity was observed in Congo Basin strain-challenged animals and mortality was observed only in the Congo Basin strain-challenged animals. The PD model is valuable for the study of strain-dependent differences in MPXV. Additionally, the model closely mimics human systemic orthopoxvirus disease and may serve as a valuable non-human surrogate for investigations of antivirals and next generation orthopoxvirus vaccines.

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