Virological and clinico-pathological features of orf virus infection in experimentally infected rabbits and mice

J. F. Cargnelutti, E. K. Masuda, M. Martins, D. G. Diel, D. L. Rock, R. Weiblen, E. F. Flores

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many aspects of the biology of orf virus (ORFV) infection remain poorly understood and attempts to establish animal models have yielded conflicting and non-reproducible results. We herein describe the characterization of ORFV infection and disease in rabbits and mice. A protocol of intradermal inoculation was employed to inoculate 108.5TCID50/mL of ORFV strain IA-82 in the skin of ears, of the back and labial commissures. All inoculated rabbits presented a clinical course characterized by erythema, macules, papules/vesicles or pustules that eventually dried originating scabs. Local signs started around days 3 and 4 post-inoculation (pi) and lasted 3-10 days. Virus was recovered from lesions between days 2 and 14pi. Histological examination of lesions revealed focal proliferative dermatitis with ballooning degeneration and eosinophilic intracytoplasmic inclusion bodies in keratinocytes, histological hallmarks of contagious ecthyma in sheep. A similar, albeit milder clinical course occurred in 5/10 inoculated mice; virus was recovered from lesions from three animals. Inoculated lambs - used as controls - developed severe lesions of contagious ecthyma. VN tests performed at day 28pi failed to detect neutralizing antibodies in all inoculated animals. In contrast, convalescent rabbit sera were positive by ELISA at dilutions from 100 to 400. These results show that rabbits are susceptible to ORFV infection and thus may be used to study selected aspects of ORFV biology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)56-62
Number of pages7
JournalMicrobial Pathogenesis
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011


  • Animal models
  • Contagious ecthyma
  • Mice
  • Pathogenesis
  • Rabbits
  • Soremouth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Infectious Diseases


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