This study assessed whether recently weaned piglets with maternally derived antibodies were able to generate infectious influenza aerosols. Three groups of piglets were assembled based on the vaccination status of the dam. Sows were either non-vaccinated (CTRL) or vaccinated with the same (VAC-HOM) strain or a different (VAC-HET) strain to the one used for challenge. Piglets acquired the maternally derived antibodies by directly suckling colostrum from their respective dams. At weaning, pigs were challenged with influenza virus by direct contact with an infected pig (seeder pig) and clinical signs evaluated. Air samples, collected using a liquid cyclonic air collector, and individual nasal swabs were collected daily for 10days from each group and tested by matrix real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RRT-PCR) assay. Virus isolation and titration were attempted for air samples on Madin-Darby canine kidney cells. All individual pigs from both VAC-HET and CTRL groups tested positive during the study but only one pig in the VAC-HOM group was positive by nasal swab RRT-PCR. Influenza virus could not be detected or isolated from air samples from the VAC-HOM group. Influenza A virus was isolated from 3.2% and 6.4% air samples from both the VAC-HET and CTRL groups, respectively. Positive RRT-PCR air samples were only detected in VAC-HET and CTRL groups on day 7 post-exposure. Overall, this study provides evidence that recently weaned pigs with maternally derived immunity without obvious clinical signs of influenza infection can generate influenza infectious aerosols which is relevant to the transmission and the ecology of influenza virus in pigs.
- Air sampling