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Pathogenesis of a phleboviral infection (Punta Toro virus) in golden Syrian hamsters

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The hamster,Mesocricetus auratus, was examined as a possible model for investigating the poorly defined pathogenesis of the familyBunyaviridae, genusPhlebovirus. Punta Toro virus (PTV) isolates from Eastern Panama were highly virulent for two outbred and five inbred hamster strains, while isolates from western Panama were of low virulence. The Adames strain (eastern Panama) of PTV (LD50 approximately 1 PFU, sc) caused an acute fatal disease (average survival time, 3.8 days) in 10-week-old Lak: LVG (SYR) hamsters. Severe necrosis of the liver, spleen, and small intestine was associated with extensive expression of viral antigen in these organs. The Balliet strain (western Panama) of PTV (LD50>6log10 PFU, subcutaneously) caused a mild hepatocellular infection with peak viral liver titers of 3–4 log10 PFU/g compared to 8–9 log10 PFU/g for the Adames strain. We observed histological lesions in the red pulp of the spleen or the lamina propria of the small intestine with the Adames strain. Lesions in the hamsters had characteristics of disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC). The PTV-hamster model shares similarities to Rift Valley fever (phleboviral disease), which causes fatal disease in man and domesticated ruminants.

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Anderson, G.W., Slayter, M.V., Hall, W. et al. Pathogenesis of a phleboviral infection (Punta Toro virus) in golden Syrian hamsters. Archives of Virology 114, 203–212 (1990).

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