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Infection, Replication, and Transmission of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus in Alpacas



Infection, Replication, and Transmission of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus in Alpacas



Emerging Infectious Diseases 22(6): 1031-1037



Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus is a recently emerged pathogen associated with severe human disease. Zoonotic spillover from camels appears to play a major role in transmission. Because of logistic difficulties in working with dromedaries in containment, a more manageable animal model would be desirable. We report shedding and transmission of this virus in experimentally infected alpacas (n = 3) or those infected by contact (n = 3). Infectious virus was detected in all infected animals and in 2 of 3 in-contact animals. All alpacas seroconverted and were rechallenged 70 days after the original infection. Experimentally infected animals were protected against reinfection, and those infected by contact were partially protected. Necropsy specimens from immunologically naive animals (n = 3) obtained on day 5 postinfection showed virus in the upper respiratory tract. These data demonstrate efficient virus replication and animal-to-animal transmission and indicate that alpacas might be useful surrogates for camels in laboratory studies.

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Accession: 058105870

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PMID: 27070385


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