Background: The relationship between influenza virus infectivity and virus shedding, based on different diagnostic methods, has not been defined.
Methods: Three donor ferrets infected with 2009 pandemic influenza A(H1N1) underwent daily quantitative culture, antigen-detection testing, and real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Eight contacts were sequentially cohoused with each of the donors for 24 hours during days 3-10 after inoculation.
Results: Transmission was observed until day 5 after inoculation, corresponding to high culture titers and positive results of antigen-detection tests. Real-time RT-PCR showed no relation to the cessation of transmission.
Conclusions: Antigen-detection testing and virus culture but not real-time RT-PCR identified the end of the infectious period.
Keywords: PCR; antigen detection; culture; infectious period; infectivity; influenza; transmission.
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