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Open Access Persistent Transmission of Mouse Hepatitis Virus by Transgenic Mice

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Variation in susceptibility to viral infection is well documented across mouse strains. Specific combinations of viral strains and murine hosts may favor viral infection and disease, and could potentially allow the unexpected development of chronic, persistent, or latent infections. In some genetically modified strains of mice, immune function and perhaps other physiologic or metabolic systems may be substantially or marginally impaired. In the case study reported here, we document the apparent persistent transmission of mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) over a twoyear period by MHV-seropositive transgenic mice. Transmission occurred via direct contact with seropositive mice and exposure to contaminated bedding. However, MHV was not detected at diagnostic laboratories by use of viral isolation or reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis of tissues from MHV-seropositive animals. Our observation, together with the constantly expanding varieties of immune-impaired or poorly characterized murine hosts and the burgeoning dissemination of these animals throughout the biomedical research community, indicate that unexpected pathophysiologic presentations of common murine viral diseases may present new challenges to the biomedical research community in the future.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee 38105 2: Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, 801 North Rutledge Street, Box 19611, Springfield, Illinois 62794-9611

Publication date: 2001-08-01

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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