Experimental Infection of Nonhuman Primates with Sandfly Fever Virus

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  • Divisions of Virology and Pathology, U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Fort Detrick, Frederick, Maryland
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Due to the lack of an animal model, previous studies of sandfly fever have relied upon human challenge trials. We examined the infectivity and potential pathogenicity of sandfly fever virus in cynomolgus monkeys (Macaca fascicularis). Three different preparations of sandfly fever virus, Sicilian strain, and a placebo were compared by different routes of administration. The most notable postchallenge clinical event was a decrease in lymphocytes in the intramuscularly challenged monkeys. Plaque-reduction neutralization responses peaked earlier in animals challenged intravenously as compared with those in animals challenged intramuscularly. There was no evidence for neurotropism or meningeal inflammation. Sandfly fever virus was infectious for cynomolgus monkeys, but produced no detectable clinical disease that might serve as a marker for animal modeling studies. On the other hand, the preclinical data provide supportive evidence for safe parenteral administration of a Sicilian strain of sandfly fever virus inoculum to humans as a challenge model for sandfly fever disease.