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Duck Tembusu virus exhibits neurovirulence in BALB/c mice

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Background: Duck Tembusu virus is a member of the Ntaya group in the genus Flavivirus. The virus has been responsible for severe duck egg-drop syndrome in China since 2010. Its emergence and rapid spread have caused great economic loss for the poultry industry. The epidemiology of the virus infection and the potential threat to public health is of great concern because of the infective and zoonotic nature of flaviviruses. Results: In this study, the pathogenicity of duck Tembusu virus in BALB/c mice was investigated. Infected mice developed clinical signs, including loss of appetite, ruffled hair, weight loss, disorientation, blindness and paralysis of hind limbs from six days post- infection following intracerebral inoculation. Morbidity was 100%, with mortality ranging from 20 to 80% in three- to eight-week-old mice. High virus titers were recovered from the brain, and the virus was distributed in several organs. Histologically, there was widespread non-suppurative encephalitis in the brain. Lymphocyte depletion in the spleen was observed, along with fatty degeneration in the liver and kidney. Conclusions: Our results demonstrate, for the first time, that duck Tembusu virus is highly neurovirulent in BALB/c mice. The mouse model used in this work was able to produce Tembusu virus infection and could be useful for elucidating some of the aspects of the pathophysiology of other flavivirus infections. © 2013 Li et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.




Li, S., Li, X., Zhang, L., Wang, Y., Yu, X., Tian, K., … Su, J. (2013). Duck Tembusu virus exhibits neurovirulence in BALB/c mice. Virology Journal, 10.

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