A new influenza virus that affects cattle has an official name. influenza D. The executive committee of the International Committee of Taxonomy of Virus approved a new genus, Orthomyxovirdae, with a single species, Influenza D virus, because of its distinctness from other influenza types—A, B and C.
The research group showed that influenza D is spread only through direct contact and proved a guinea pig can be used as an animal model to study the virus. Influenza D antibodies have been identified in blood samples from sheep and goats, but the virus does not affect poultry.
Studies are underway to compare the virulence among the bovine and swine influenza D strains and human influenza C using the guinea pig model. If the virus can undergo reassortment in combination with a closely related human influenza virus, it may be able to form a new strain that could pose more of a threat to humans.
New Virus Gets Official Name, Influenza D