Clinical response to pandemic H1N1 influenza virus from a fatal and mild case in ferrets

Pamela Martínez-Orellana, Jaume Martorell, Beatriz V Vidana Mateo, Natalia Majó, Jorge Martínez, Ana Falcón, Ariel Rodríguez-Frandsen, Inmaculada Casas, Francisco Pozo, Lourdes García Migura, Blanca García-Barreno, Jose A Melero, Lorenzo Fraile, Amelia Nieto, Maria Montoya*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
48 Downloads (Pure)


BACKGROUND: The majority of pandemic 2009 H1N1 (A(H1N1)pdm09) influenza virus (IV) caused mild symptoms in most infected patients, however, a greater rate of severe disease was observed in healthy young adults and children without co-morbid conditions. The purpose of this work was to study in ferrets the dynamics of infection of two contemporary strains of human A(H1N1)pdm09 IV, one isolated from a patient showing mild disease and the other one from a fatal case.

METHODS: Viral strains isolated from a patient showing mild disease-M (A/CastillaLaMancha/RR5661/2009) or from a fatal case-F (A/CastillaLaMancha/RR5911/2009), both without known comorbid conditions, were inoculated in two groups of ferrets and clinical and pathological conditions were analysed.

RESULTS: Mild to severe clinical symptoms were observed in animals from both groups. A clinical score distribution was applied in which ferrets with mild clinical signs were distributed on a non-severe group (NS) and ferrets with severe clinical signs on a severe group (S), regardless of the virus used in the infection. Animals on S showed a significant decrease in body weight compared to animals on NS at 4 to 7 days post-infection (dpi). Clinical progress correlated with histopathological findings. Concentrations of haptoglobin (Hp) and serum amyloid A (SAA) increased on both groups after 2 dpi. Clinically severe infected ferrets showed a stronger antibody response and higher viral titres after infection (p = 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: The severity in the progress of infection was independent from the virus used for infection suggesting that the host immune response was determinant in the outcome of the infection. The diversity observed in ferrets mimicked the variability found in the human population.

Original languageEnglish
Article number48 (2020)
Pages (from-to)10
JournalVirology Journal
Publication statusPublished - 26 Mar 2015


  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Viral/blood
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Ferrets/virology
  • Humans
  • Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype/immunology
  • Influenza, Human/blood
  • Lung/pathology
  • Male
  • Young Adult


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