Simian Parainfluenza Virus-5 (SPIV-5)

If scientists use the word ‘simian’ they mean ‘ape’. It is useful to know which group of animals you are referring to if you are discussing a subject with people that speak different languages. Thus: ‘avian’ means ‘bird’, ‘bovine’ means ‘cows’, ‘feline’ means ‘cat’ and ‘canine’ means ‘dog’.

The Simian Parainfluenza Virus -5 (SPIV-5) was first isolated from rhesus and macaques. Both species are extensively used in biomedical research. At first it was thought that monkeys were the natural host for SPIV-5, but then science ran into trouble: research indicated that wild monkeys do not have antibodies against the virus. However, these animals develop antibodies in captivity and it was suggested[1] that infection of monkeys occurs either in transit or shortly after contact with humans.
There is also evidence[2] supporting the idea that SPIV-5 naturally infects humans. No acute human disease has been linked reproducibly to infection with SPIV-5. It is accepted that SPIV-5 is a natural cause of the respiratory illness kennel cough in dogs and that is the reason why SPIV-5 is sometimes called Canine Parainfluenza Virus (CPIV).

In addition, an isolate of SPIV-5 was isolated[3] from the lung of a foetus of a cow with porcine respiratory and reproductive syndrome. There is also evidence that cats, hamsters and guinea pigs may naturally be infected with SPIV-5 or a very closely related virus.

Which means that captive apes may be have accidentally been implicated in the naming of this virus. They may just be victims and that humans (or their dogs) are the real culprits. And that is also the reason why scientists are now suggesting[4] to simply call the virus Parainfluenza Virus-5 (or PIV-5).

[1] Atoynatan et al: Epidemiologic studies of latent virus infections in captive monkeys and baboons. II. Serologic evidence of myxovirus infections with special reference to SV5 in American Journal of Epidemology - 1969
[2] Hsiung: Parainfluenza-5 virus. Infection of man and animal in Progress in Medical Virology - 1972
[3] Heinen et al: Isolation of a cytopathogenic virus from a case of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) and its characterization as parainfluenza virus type 2 in Archives of Virology - 1998 [4] Chatziandreou et al: Relationships and host range of human, canine, simian and porcine isolates of simian virus 5 (parainfluenza virus 5) in Journal of General Virology - 2004

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