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      Venezuelan equine encephalomyelitis virus infection in and transmission by the tick Amblyomma cajennense (Arachnida: Ixodidae).

      Journal of Medical Entomology
      Animals, Arachnid Vectors, microbiology, Encephalitis Virus, Venezuelan Equine, isolation & purification, Encephalomyelitis, Venezuelan Equine, transmission, Guinea Pigs, Larva, Ticks

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          Abstract

          To assess a possible role of ticks as the maintenance host for epizootic strains of Venezuelan equine encephalomyelitis (VEE) virus, laboratory experiments were conducted to determine if ticks could become infected, maintain, and transmit the virus. Larval and nymphal Amblyomma cajennense (F.) and larval Dermacentor nitens Neumann ticks were exposed to epizootic VEE virus (Trinidad donkey strain) by allowing them to feed on viremic guinea pigs (strain 13). In A. cajennense, transstadial transmission was observed from larvae to nymphs and adults. Horizontal viral transmission to a mammalian host was accomplished by nymphs. Infection rates in nymphs and adults were 2% (42/2,750) and 4% (9/244), respectively, afer ingestion of virus as larvae. Virus was detected in A. cajennense adult ticks for up to 171 d after infection in the larval stage. A cajennense, exposed as nymphs, ingested virus but did not become infected (0/164 after 10 d after taking an infective bloodmeal). No virus was detected in D. nitens 7 d after exposure. These findings suggest that A. cajennense potentially could be involved in an interepizootic maintenance cycle of epizootic VEE viral strains.

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