Volume 75, Issue 6
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) virus perpetuates in an enzootic cycle involving ornithophilic mosquito vectors, principally (Coquillett) and avian amplification hosts. To better understand the role of and (Theobald) in the epizootiology of EEE virus, we collected blood-fed mosquitoes between 31 May and 15 October 2004 at two sites associated with an EEE virus focus in central New York and identified the source of vertebrate blood by nucleotide sequencing of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) products of the gene. Analysis of 484 and 122 revealed that 94.2% and 86.9%, respectively, acquired blood solely from avian hosts. Blood meals derived exclusively from mammals were detected in 0.8% of and 1.6% of . Individual mosquitoes containing mixed-blood meals from both avian and mammalian hosts were also detected in 5.0% of and 11.5% of . Wood thrush constituted the most common vertebrate host for (23.6%) and (30.9%), followed by American robin, song sparrow, ovenbird, red-eyed vireo, and common yellowthroat. Mammalian-derived blood meals were identified as white-tailed deer, horse, domestic cat, and eastern pipistrelle bat. There were three isolations of EEE virus from and one from These results suggest that wood thrush and a few other passerine birds may play key roles in supporting EEE virus transmission in the northeast and possibly throughout the geographic range of EEE in North America. The frequency of mammalian feedings also suggests that and may play a role in the transmission of EEE virus to equines, in addition to maintaining enzootic transmission among avian hosts. We report the first isolation of arboviruses from mosquito vectors concomitant with the identifications of their blood meal sources.


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  • Received : 27 Mar 2006
  • Accepted : 17 Aug 2006

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