Foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) can be spread by a variety of mechanisms, including wind. Simulation models, developed to predict the risk of airborne spread, have played an important part in decision making in some outbreaks. The amount of airborne virus excreted as well as the minimal infectious dose (MID) of FMDV for different species are important determinants of airborne spread. The objective of this study was to obtain data for the O1 Lausanne, O SKR 2000 and O UKG 2001 strains of FMDV to enhance the capability of such models. Pigs were exposed to naturally generated aerosols of the three strains using an experimental design which delivered high doses of the two strains O1 Lausanne and O SKR 2000 over a short period, or of the O UKG 2001 strain over an extended period. The average excretion of the O1 Lausanne strain was 106·4 TCID50 per pig per hour. The excretion of the O SKR 2000 strain averaged 105·8 and the O UKG 2001 strain 106·1 TCID per pig per 24 h. The results show that the previous estimate of ‘above’ 800 TCID50 as the MID50 for the O1 Lausanne strain is a considerable under-estimate and that the real dose may be as high as 6000 TCID50. A dose of around 650 TCID50 of the O SKR 2000 strain failed to infect any pigs. Thus, the aerosol MID50 for pigs for this isolate is at least 1000 TCID50 and likely to be as high or higher than the O1 Lausanne strain. The exposure of pairs of recipient pigs kept physically separated from donor pigs in a series of rooms to aerosol exposure doses of the O UKG 2001 strain of around 50 TCID50 per min for 24–48 h failed to infect any of eight pigs. Thus, the present experiment confirms our previous findings [1, 2] that pigs, compared to cattle and sheep, are relatively resistant to infection with airborne FMDV.
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