Hendra virus (HeV) is a zoonotic virus from the family Paramyxoviridae causing fatal disease in humans and horses. Five-week-old Landrace pigs and 5-month-old Gottingen minipigs were inoculated with approximately 10(7) plaque forming units per animal. In addition to fever and depression exhibited in all infected pigs, one of the two Landrace pigs developed respiratory signs at 5 days post-inoculation (dpi) and one of the Gottingen minipigs developed respiratory signs at 5 dpi and mild neurological signs at 7 dpi. Virus was detected in all infected pigs at 2-5 dpi from oral, nasal, and rectal swabs and at 3-5 dpi from ocular swabs by real-time RT-PCR targeting the HeV M gene. Virus titers in nasal swab samples were as high as 10(4.6) TCID(50)/mL. The viral RNA was mainly distributed in tissues from respiratory and lymphoid systems at an early stage of infection and the presence of virus was confirmed by virus isolation. Pathological changes and immunohistochemical staining for viral antigen were consistent with the tissue distribution of the virus. This new finding indicates that pigs are susceptible to HeV infections and could potentially play a role as an intermediate host in transmission to humans.
INRA, EDP Sciences, 2010.