Transmission of foot-and-mouth disease virus during the incubation period in pigs

Carolina Stenfeldt, Juan M. Pacheco, Barbara P. Brito, Karla I. Moreno-Torres, Matt A. Branan, Amy H. Delgado, Luis L. Rodriguez, Jonathan Arzt

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18 Scopus citations


Understanding the quantitative characteristics of a pathogen's capability to transmit during distinct phases of infection is important to enable accurate predictions of the spread and impact of a disease outbreak. In the current investigation, the potential for transmission of foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) during the incubation (preclinical) period of infection was investigated in seven groups of pigs that were sequentially exposed to a group of donor pigs that were infected by simulated-natural inoculation. Contact-exposed pigs were comingled with infected donors through successive 8-h time slots spanning from 8 to 64 h post-inoculation (hpi) of the donor pigs. The transition from latent to infectious periods in the donor pigs was clearly defined by successful transmission of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) to all contact pigs that were exposed to the donors from 24 hpi and later. This onset of infectiousness occurred concurrent with detection of viremia, but approximately 24 h prior to the first appearance of clinical signs of FMD in the donors. Thus, the latent period of infection ended approximately 24 h before the end of the incubation period. There were significant differences between contact-exposed groups in the time elapsed from virus exposure to the first detection of FMDV shedding, viremia, and clinical lesions. Specifically, the onset and progression of clinical FMD were more rapid in pigs that had been exposed to the donor pigs during more advanced phases of disease, suggesting that these animals had received a higher effective challenge dose. These results demonstrate transmission and dissemination of FMD within groups of pigs during the incubation period of infection. Furthermore, these findings suggest that under current conditions, shedding of FMDV in oropharyngeal fluids is a more precise proxy for FMDV infectiousness than clinical signs of infection. These findings may impact modeling of the propagation of FMD outbreaks that initiate in pig holdings and should be considered when designing FMD control strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105
JournalFrontiers in Veterinary Science
Issue numberNOV
StatePublished - Nov 21 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Drs. Helena C. de Carvalho Ferreira, Steven I. Rekant, Lauro Velazquez-Salinas, Erin B. Howey, Brenton Sanford, and Jolene Carlson are thanked for contributing essential practical support during the transmission study. Elizabeth Bishop, Ethan Hartwig, George Smoliga and Steve Pauszek are thanked for excellent support with laboratory analyses.This project was funded through an interagency agreement with the Science and Technology Directorate of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security under Award Number HSHQDC-11-X-00189 with additional funding from ARS-CRIS Project 1940-32000-057-00D. CS, KM-T, and BB are recipients of a Plum Island Animal Disease Center Research Participation Program fellowship, administered by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) through an interagency agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy. None of the funding sources had influence upon design or performance of experimental study, interpretation of results, or writing of the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Stenfeldt, Pacheco, Brito, Moreno-Torres, Branan, Delgado, Rodriguez and Arzt.


  • Foot-and-mouth disease
  • Foot-and-mouth disease virus
  • Incubation
  • Pigs
  • Preclinical
  • Subclinical
  • Transmission
  • Virus diseases


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