Arbovirus Studies in Bush Bush Forest, Trinidad, W. I., September 1959–December 1964

VI. Rodent-Associated Viruses (VEE and Agents of Groups C and Guamá): Isolations and Further Studies

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  • University of the West Indies, Trinidad Regional Virus Laboratory, P. O. Box 164, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, West Indies


Details are given on isolations of seven virus types from material collected in Bush Bush Forest during the study period: 262 of Venezuelan equine encephalitis (VEE), 71 of Caraparu-like, three of Oriboca, two of Restan, 63 of Bimiti, 56 of Catu, and 87 of Guamá. Data from experimental-infection studies are presented, as well as results of serologic studies with hemagglutinating antigens of VEE and Caraparu-like viruses and some 1,200 sera of Bush Bush rodents.

It was found that the natural transmission cycles of five of these virus types in Bush Bush are similar and include a period of multiplication and viremia in forest-floor rodents and a period of multiplication in mosquitoes among which Culex (Melanoconion) portesi, at least, is capable of subsequent transmission. Similar cycles are inferred for the remaining two virus types, Oriboca and Restan. In 1964 a severe reduction of the rodent population took place, Culex portesi continued abundant, and only Bimiti of the seven virus types was isolated. It is concluded that an alternate host population of sufficient size was not then available to these viruses in Bush Bush.

Very little evidence was found to implicate mosquito species other than C. portesi as essential vectors during epizootic or inter-epizootic periods.