Reoviruses

A number of wild-type and laboratory strains of reovirus type 3 have been recovered from vertebrates and nonvertebrates. So far, the virus has only been isolated from mice, but antibodies have been detected in rats, guinea pigs, and rabbits. Whether these antibodies are specific or are due to cross-reactions is actually not known. Previously, 15% of European guinea pig colonies were shown to have positive titers to reovirus type 3,106 but clinical or pathological changes as a cause of reovirus infection in guinea pigs have never been reported, and the situation has been improved today. The virus is relatively heat stable, but temperature-sensitive mutants have also been developed. It is also resistant to some chemical disinfectants and can survive outside the body for longer periods. Transmission is mainly by the oral route, but air-borne contamination may occur. Intrauterine infection is described under experimental conditions but is not likely to occur in natural infection. Antibodies can be detected by serology.

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