Ovine Fetal Malformations Induced by in Utero Inoculation with Main Drain, San Angelo, and Lacrosse Viruses

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  • Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Texas A&M University, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Agricultural Experiment Station, Agricultural Research and Extension Center, College Station, Texas
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The teratogenic potential of three bunyaviruses, two California serogroup bunyaviruses, LaCrosse virus and San Angelo virus, and a Bunyamwera serogroup member, Main Drain virus, in sheep was studied following in utero inoculation of ewes in early gestation. Although Main Drain virus appeared to be most teratogenic, all three viruses induced a range of lesions including arthrogryposis, hydrocephalus, fetal death, axial skeletal deviations, anasarca, and oligohydramnios. The teratogenic effects of these viruses are identical to those described in ovine infections by Cache Valley and Akabane viruses. Demonstration of a common bunyaviral tropism for fetal tissue infection that results in congenital brain and musculoskeletal malformations provides evidence that human in utero infection by bunyaviruses could result in similar malformations in human infants.