Limited interdecadal variation in mosquito (Diptera: Culicidae) and avian host competence for western equine encephalomyelitis virus (Togaviridae: Alphavirus)

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Abstract

Historically, western equine encephalomyelitis virus (WEEV) caused large equine and human epidemics in the Americas from Canada into Argentina. Despite recent enhanced surveillance for West Nile virus, there have been few reports of equine or human cases and little documented enzootic activity of WEEV. During the past three years, WEEV has been active again in California, but without human or equine cases. In the current study, we compared host and vector competence of representative WEEV isolates made during each decade over the past 60 years using white-crowned sparrows, house sparrows, and Culex tarsalis Coquillett as representative hosts. Results indicated limited time-related change in virulence among WEEV strains in birds and little difference in vector competence in Cx. tarsalis. Although temporal and spatial genetic changes have been documented, these seem to present limited phenotypic change in host competence and cannot explain the absence of equine and human cases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)681-686
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Volume78
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Infectious Diseases

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