The intravenous injection of the PR8 strain of influenza A virus, the Lee strain of influenza B, and the "B" strain of Newcastle disease virus produces fever in rabbits. This phenomenon has been studied in relation to certain in vitro properties of these viruses.
Saline suspensions of virus prepared by centrifugation or elution from chicken erythrocytes produced fever. Fluids from which most of the virus particles had been removed were non-pyrogenic.
Exposure to temperatures which destroyed the infectivity of the virus for chick embryos did not prevent fever. However, heating sufficient to destroy the hemagglutinin also rendered virus non-pyrogenic.
The injection of erythrocytes onto which virus had been adsorbed produced fever. Heated virus adsorbed onto erythrocytes, which failed to elute, produced no elevation of temperature, although heated virus alone was pyrogenic.
Neutralization of virus with specific immune serum prevented fever.
Antipyrine was capable of abolishing the febrile response to virus.
Certain differences between the febrile response in rabbits to the injection of viruses and that following bacterial pyrogens were noted. The period between injection and beginning of temperature rise is longer with virus than with bacterial pyrogens. Relatively low temperatures inactivate the fever-producing capacity of viruses, whereas bacterial pyrogens withstand prolonged autoclaving, and the neutralization of viral fever by specific immune serum contrasts sharply with the failure of antibody to affect the response to bacterial pyrogens.
Certain previous observations on the lymphopenia produced in rabbits by the injection of influenzal viruses were confirmed. The capacity of virus preparations to induce fever in rabbits closely parallels their capacity to induce lymphopenia.
It was concluded that the fever-producing property of influenzal viruses is closely associated with the capacity to agglutinate erythrocytes.