A characterization of aerosolized Sudan virus infection in African green monkeys, cynomolgus macaques, and rhesus macaques

Viruses. 2012 Oct 15;4(10):2115-36. doi: 10.3390/v4102115.


Filoviruses are members of the genera Ebolavirus, Marburgvirus, and "Cuevavirus". Because they cause human disease with high lethality and could potentially be used as a bioweapon, these viruses are classified as CDC Category A Bioterrorism Agents. Filoviruses are relatively stable in aerosols, retain virulence after lyophilization, and can be present on contaminated surfaces for extended periods of time. This study explores the characteristics of aerosolized Sudan virus (SUDV) Boniface in non-human primates (NHP) belonging to three different species. Groups of cynomolgus macaques (cyno), rhesus macaques (rhesus), and African green monkeys (AGM) were challenged with target doses of 50 or 500 plaque-forming units (pfu) of aerosolized SUDV. Exposure to either viral dose resulted in increased body temperatures in all three NHP species beginning on days 4-5 post-exposure. Other clinical findings for all three NHP species included leukocytosis, thrombocytopenia, anorexia, dehydration, and lymphadenopathy. Disease in all of the NHPs was severe beginning on day 6 post-exposure, and all animals except one surviving rhesus macaque were euthanized by day 14. Serum alanine transaminase (ALT) and aspartate transaminase (AST) concentrations were elevated during the course of disease in all three species; however, AGMs had significantly higher ALT and AST concentrations than cynos and rhesus. While all three species had detectable viral load by days 3-4 post exposure, Rhesus had lower average peak viral load than cynos or AGMs. Overall, the results indicate that the disease course after exposure to aerosolized SUDV is similar for all three species of NHP.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aerosols
  • Alanine Transaminase / blood
  • Animals
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases / blood
  • Blood Pressure
  • Body Temperature
  • Chlorocebus aethiops / virology*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Filoviridae / pathogenicity*
  • Filoviridae Infections / pathology*
  • Filoviridae Infections / virology
  • Heart Rate
  • Inhalation Exposure
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Leukocytosis / pathology
  • Leukocytosis / virology
  • Macaca fascicularis / virology*
  • Macaca mulatta / virology*
  • Male
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Telemetry
  • Time Factors
  • Vero Cells
  • Viral Load


  • Aerosols
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases
  • Alanine Transaminase