Volume 72, Issue 5
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


Serosurveys were conducted to obtain flavivirus and West Nile virus (WNV) seroprevalence data from mammals. Sera from 513 small- and medium-sized mammals collected during late summer and fall 2003 from Colorado, Louisiana, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania were screened for flavivirus-specific antibodies. Sera samples containing antibody to flaviviruses were screened for WNV-specific antibodies by epitope-blocking enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays and confirmed with plaque reduction neutralization tests. Prevalence of WNV antibodies among study sites ranged from 0% to 42.8% among the mammal communities sampled. High prevalence rates for WNV were noted among raccoons (100%, with a very small sample size, = 2), Virginia opossums (50.0%), fox squirrels (49.1%), and eastern gray squirrels (48.3%). The high WNV antibody prevalence noted for tree squirrels, the peri-domestic tendencies of several of these species, and their ease of observation could make these species useful sentinels for monitoring WNV activity within urban communities.


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  • Received : 07 Oct 2004
  • Accepted : 04 Dec 2004

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