Effects of immunosuppression on encephalitis virus infection in the house finch, Carpodacus mexicanus

William Reisen, Robert E. Chiles, Emily N. Green, Ying Fang, Farida Mahmood, Vincent M. Martinez, Thomas Laver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Immunosuppression of house finches was attempted by blood feeding Culex tarsalis Coquillett mosquitoes or by injecting birds with the corticosteroid dexamethasone or the immunosuppressant drug cyclophosphamide before and after inoculation with western equine encephalomyelitis or St. Louis encephalitis viruses. Mosquito bites (8-37 females blood feeding on each bird over a 3-d period) did not enhance the viremia response or increase the frequency of chronic infection. In contrast, dexamethasone and cyclophosphamide enhanced the amplitude and duration of the viremia response, but had no consistent effect on the antibody responses as measured by enzyme immunoassay or plaque reduction neutralization assay. Elevated viremias were followed by increases in the frequency of chronic infections with St. Louis encephalitis, but not western equine encephalomyelitis. Immunosuppression may provide a useful tool to study the chronic infection process of flaviviruses in vertebrates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)206-214
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Medical Entomology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003


  • Chronic infection
  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Dexamethasone
  • House finch
  • Immunosuppression
  • Mosquito blood feeding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • veterinary(all)
  • Insect Science
  • Infectious Diseases


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