Experimental Infection of Potential Reservoir Hosts with Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis Virus, Mexico
Published Date:Apr 2009
Source:Emerg Infect Dis. 15(4):519-525.
Bioterrorism Agents And Preparedness
Communicable Diseases, Emerging
Encephalitis Virus, Venezuelan Equine
Encephalomyelitis, Venezuelan Equine
Description:In 1993, an outbreak of encephalitis among 125 affected equids in coastal Chiapas, Mexico, resulted in a 50% case-fatality rate. The outbreak was attributed to Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus (VEEV) subtype IE, not previously associated with equine disease and death. To better understand the ecology of this VEEV strain in Chiapas, we experimentally infected 5 species of wild rodents and evaluated their competence as reservoir and amplifying hosts. Rodents from 1 species (Baiomys musculus) showed signs of disease and died by day 8 postinoculation. Rodents from the 4 other species (Liomys salvini, Oligoryzomys fulvescens, Oryzomys couesi, and Sigmodon hispidus) became viremic but survived and developed neutralizing antibodies, indicating that multiple species may contribute to VEEV maintenance. By infecting numerous rodent species and producing adequate viremia, VEEV may increase its chances of long-term persistence in nature and could increase risk for establishment in disease-endemic areas and amplification outside the disease-endemic range.
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