Observations on the natural history of encephalomyocarditis virus

R. B. Tesh, G. D. Wallace

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Sera from 12 different species of Hawaiian mammals and birds as well as from humans were examined by plaque reduction neutralization test for antibodies against encephalomyocarditis virus (EMC). The highest prevalence of antibodies was found among rats (Rattus sp.), mongooses, pigs, and cows. Lower rates were observed among humans, cats, and wild birds. The prevalence of EMC antibodies among R. rattus on 4 Hawaiian islands ranged from 8-86%, indicating considerable geographic variation in virus activity. Sera from selected rodent populations in Colorado, the Caroline and Philippine islands, Panama, and Iran were also tested and the results confirmed the association of EMC with members of the genus Rattus. Laboratory reared R. rattus, R. norvegicus, and Mus musculus were fed 3 low passage EMG virus strains. The frequency of infection among the exposed animals varied with rodent species and with each virus strain, suggesting differences in species susceptibility as well as in strain infectivity. Blood, urine, and stool specimens were collected from the animals for virus isolation at regular intervals after virus administration. With the exception of single blood and fecal samples collected 24 hr post feeding, no virus was recovered from any of the specimens from experimentally infected rodents. Attempts to demonstrate contact transmission among EMG infected and control mice caged together were also negative. Infection of birds (pigeons and chickens) with EMC following parenteral inoculation was demonstrated. EMC virus did not survive in mosquitoes after intrathoracic injection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-143
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Issue number1 I
StatePublished - 1978
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology
  • Parasitology


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