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Reston Virus Causes Severe Respiratory Disease in Young Domestic Pigs

Reston virus (RESTV), an ebolavirus, causes clinical disease in macaques but has yet only been associated with rare asymptomatic infections in humans. Its 2008 emergence in pigs in the Philippines raised concerns about food safety, pathogenicity, and zoonotic potential, questions that are still unanswered. Until today, the virulence of RESTV for pigs has remained elusive, with unclear pathogenicity in naturally infected animals and only one experimental study demonstrating susceptibility and evidence for shedding but no disease. Here we show that combined oropharyngeal and nasal infection of young (3- to 7-wk-old) Yorkshire cross pigs with RESTV resulted in severe respiratory disease, with most animals reaching humane endpoint within a week. RESTV-infected pigs developed severe cyanosis, tachypnea, and acute interstitial pneumonia, with RESTV shedding from oronasal mucosal membranes. Our studies indicate that RESTV should be considered a livestock pathogen with zoonotic potential.

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