Volume 13, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



The present study concerns the course of experimental arbovirus infection in the gravid Mexican free-tailed bat, . Susceptibility of bats to subcutaneous inoculation with a mosquito isolate (Mosquito-57) of St. Louis encephalitis (SLE) virus, which has been shown to be of low infectivity for the non-pregnant bat, was not increased by the stress of the gestation period. Similarly, susceptibility to infection was not altered in gravid bats inoculated with either a strain of SLE virus isolated from a bird (Flicker Bird-55) or a mosquito isolate (Oct-541) of Japanese B encephalitis (JBE) virus, both of which produce an intense infection in the non-gravid bat.

Transplacental passage of JBE virus occurred in all stages of the gestation period, frequency of fetal infection being increased significantly in late pregnancy. All fetuses were viable when harvested for viral assay and no gross pathology was noted. Distribution of JBE virus in fetal tissues paralleled that in the infected mother bats; virus was found in fetal brown fat, brain, kidneys, and carcass. In contrast to the results with JBE virus, both the highly infectious strain of SLE virus (Flicker Bird-55) and the strain of low infectivity (Mosquito-57) were found to cross the placenta in only one instance.

The significance of studies on experimental arbovirus infection in the gravid bat with regard to the perpetuation of these agents in nature is discussed.


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