Domestic Pigs Are Susceptible to Infection with Influenza B Viruses

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Influenza B virus (IBV) causes seasonal epidemics in humans. Although IBV has been isolated from seals, humans are considered the primary host and reservoir of this important pathogen. It is unclear whether other animal species can support the replication of IBV and serve as a reservoir. Swine are naturally infected with both influenza A and C viruses. To determine the susceptibility of pigs to IBV infection, we conducted a serological survey for U.S. Midwest domestic swine herds from 2010 to 2012. Results of this study showed that antibodies to IBVs were detected in 38.5% (20/52) of sampled farms, and 7.3% (41/560) of tested swine serum samples were positive for IBV antibodies. Furthermore, swine herds infected with porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) showed a higher prevalence of IBV antibodies in our 2014 survey. In addition, IBV was detected in 3 nasal swabs collected from PRRSV-seropositive pigs by real-time RT-PCR and sequencing. Finally, an experimental infection in pigs, via intranasal and intratracheal routes, was performed using one representative virus from each of the two genetically and antigenically distinct lineages of IBVs: B/Brisbane/60/2008 (Victoria lineage) and B/Yamagata/16/1988 (Yamagata lineage). Pigs developed influenza-like symptoms and lung lesions, and they seroconverted after virus inoculation. Pigs infected with B/Brisbane/60/2008 virus successfully transmitted the virus to sentinel animals. Taken together, our data demonstrate that pigs are susceptible to IBV infection; therefore, they warrant further surveillance and investigation of swine as a potential host for human IBV.

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Journal of Virology





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American Society for Microbiology


Copyright © 2015 American Society for Microbiology


Supplemental material for this article may be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.00059-15.