A Serological and Virological Study of Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis in Animal Populations of South Texas
Smart, David L.
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
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More than 2,500 sera from approximately 30 wild and domestic species in southern Texas were tested for neutralizing antibodies to Venezuelan equine encephalitis. Virus isolations were also attempted from blood and tissue samples of many of the wild specimens. VEE reactors were present in a variety of species collected prior to the 1971 Texas epizootic suggesting that VEE was present and perhaps enzootic in this area before the recent epizootic. Serologic results of this study suggest that deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and feral hogs (Sus scrofa) may serve as good indicators or sentinels of VEE activity. The reservoir of VEE was not established, but results of this study suggest that a number of species or a combination of animal host populations including deer, feral hogs, and peccaries (Pecari angulatus) may be involved in the epizootiology of VEE in South Texas. Vector abundance and Psorophora-Culex prevalence patterns were shown to be related to rainfall.