Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus infection of cotton rats

Anne Sophie Carrara, Lark L. Coffey, Patricia V. Aguilar, Abelardo C. Moncayo, Amelia P.A. Travassos Da Rosa, Marcio R.T. Nunes, Robert B. Tesh, Scott C. Weaver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus (VEEV) is an emerging pathogen of equids and humans, but infection of its rodent reservoir hosts has received little study. To determine whether responses to infection vary among geographic populations, we inoculated 3 populations of cotton rats with 2 enzootic VEEV strains (Co97-0054 [enzootic ID subtype] and 68U201 [enzootic IE subtype]). The 3 populations were offspring from wild-caught cotton rats collected in a VEE-enzootic area of south Florida, USA; wild-caught cotton rats from a non-VEE-enzootic area of Texas, USA; and commercially available (Harlan) colony-reared cotton rats from a non-VEE-enzootic region. Although each population had similar early viremia titers, no detectable disease developed in the VEE-sympatric Florida animals, but severe disease and death affected the Texas and Harlan animals. Our findings suggest that the geographic origins of cotton rats are important determinants of the outcome of VEE infection and reservoir potential of these rodents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1158-1165
Number of pages8
JournalEmerging infectious diseases
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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