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J Virol. 2012 Apr;86(8):4279-87. doi: 10.1128/JVI.06645-11. Epub 2012 Feb 1.

Transmission of influenza B viruses in the guinea pig.

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Department of Microbiology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York, USA.


Epidemic influenza is typically caused by infection with viruses of the A and B types and can result in substantial morbidity and mortality during a given season. Here we demonstrate that influenza B viruses can replicate in the upper respiratory tract of the guinea pig and that viruses of the two main lineages can be transmitted with 100% efficiency between inoculated and naïve animals in both contact and noncontact models. Our results also indicate that, like in the case for influenza A virus, transmission of influenza B viruses is enhanced at colder temperatures, providing an explanation for the seasonality of influenza epidemics in temperate climates. We therefore present, for the first time, a small animal model with which to study the underlying mechanisms of influenza B virus transmission.

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