Timelines of infection and transmission dynamics of H1N1pdm09 in swine

Influenza is a major cause of mortality and morbidity worldwide. The relationship between the time course of influenza infection and virus shedding and onward transmission of the virus remains poorly characterized. Pigs are a natural host for influenza infection with shedding patterns similar to humans. Therefore we experimentally infected pigs with the H1N1pdm09 influenza A virus using direct contact challenge and then mixed the infected pigs with a different naïve pig each day to understand when transmission occurred. Using mathematical modeling, we found that transmission events occurred on 60% of occasions when the infected pigs were shedding virus and that the risk of transmission increased with the quantity of virus shed. Also it was clear the incontact pigs started to shed virus later after exposure when the infected pigs were shedding low quantities of virus. Our study therefore provides quantitative information on the time lines of influenza virus infection and the dynamics of transmission. This is important to understand the spread of influenza viruses through animal populations and, potentially, in humans.

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