Influenza A virus infects a wide range of species including both birds and mammals (including humans). One of the key routes by which the virus can infect populations of animals is by aerosol transmission. This study explored the relationship between number of infected pigs and the probability of detecting influenza virus RNA in bioaerosols through the course of an acute infection. Bioaerosols were collected using a cyclonic collector in two groups of 7. week-old pigs that were experimentally infected by exposure with a contact infected pig (seeder pig). After contact exposure, individual pig nasal swab samples were collected daily and air samples were collected three times per day for 8. days. All samples were tested for influenza by real-time reverse transcriptase (RRT)-PCR targeting the influenza virus matrix gene.All pigs' nasal swabs became influenza virus RRT-PCR positive upon exposure to the infected seeder pig. Airborne influenza was detected in 28/43 (65%) air samples. The temporal dynamics of influenza virus detection in air samples was in close agreement with the nasal shedding pattern in the infected pigs. First detection of positive bioaerosols happened at 1. day post contact (DPC). Positive bioaerosols were consistently detected between 3 and 6 DPC, a time when most pigs were also shedding virus in nasal secretions. Overall, the odds of detecting a positive air sample increased 2.2 times for every additional nasal swab positive pig in the group. In summary, there was a strong relationship between the number of pigs shedding influenza virus in nasal secretions and the generation of bioaerosols during the course of an acute infection.
- Air sampling