Studies on the Virus of Venezuelan Equine Encephalomyelitis in Trinidad, W.I.

I. The 1943–1944 Epizootic

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A detailed chronology of the events associated with the 1943–1944 epizootic in Trinidad due to the virus of Venezuelan equine encephalomyelitis is presented. Findings have been assessed from the standpoint of information available to the original investigators, as well as from the vantage point of 1961.

All known data pertaining to possible human infections, including two reported fatal cases, are reviewed and it is concluded that neither fatal case has been shown conclusively to have been due to VEE infection.

Although the Trinidad strain of VEE has continued to produce brief febrile illnesses in laboratory personnel wherever it has been studied, during the epizootic recognized clinical illness in man in nature was most uncommon, if in fact it occurred at all.

No disease syndrome, either in man or in equines, due to naturally acquired VEE has been recognized in Trinidad since 1944.

Author Notes

Colonel, MC, USA (formerly with the U. S. Army Medical Unit, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Fort Detrick, Maryland).

Staff member, The Rockefeller Foundation (formerly Director, Trinidad Regional Virus Laboratory, Port of Spain, Trinidad, W. I.).