Aerosol exposure to Zaire ebolavirus in three nonhuman primate species: differences in disease course and clinical pathology

Microbes Infect. 2011 Oct;13(11):930-6. doi: 10.1016/j.micinf.2011.05.002. Epub 2011 May 25.


There is little known concerning the disease caused by Zaire ebolavirus (ZEBOV) when inhaled, the likely route of exposure in a biological attack. Cynomolgus macaques, rhesus macaques, and African green monkeys were exposed to aerosolized ZEBOV to determine which species might be the most relevant model of the human disease. A petechial rash was noted on cynomolgus and rhesus macaques after fever onset but not on African green monkeys. Fever duration was shortest in rhesus macaques (62.7 ± 16.3 h) and longest in cynomolgus macaques (82.7 ± 22.3h) and African green monkeys (88.4 ± 16.7h). Virus was first detectable in the blood 3 days after challenge; the level of viremia was comparable among all three species. Hematological changes were noted in all three species, including decreases in lymphocyte and platelet counts. Increased blood coagulation times were most pronounced in African green monkeys. Clinical signs and time to death in all three species were comparable to what has been reported previously for each species after parenteral inoculation with ZEBOV. These data will be useful in selection of an animal model for efficacy studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aerosols*
  • Animals
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Ebolavirus / pathogenicity*
  • Female
  • Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola / pathology*
  • Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola / transmission
  • Inhalation Exposure*
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Male
  • Primate Diseases / pathology*
  • Primate Diseases / transmission
  • Time Factors


  • Aerosols