Recovery of Venezuelan Equine Encephalomyelitis Virus in Panamá

A Fatal Case in Man

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  • U.S. Public Health Service, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Middle America Research Unit, Department of Pathology, Harvard Medical School, Balboa Heights, Canal Zone


Venezuelan encephalomyelitis virus (VEE) was isolated for the first time in Panamá in 1961, the source of the virus being a young boy whose clinical course has been detailed. He succumbed to a fulminating febrile illness without gross clinical signs of encephalomyelitis. Pathologic changes were similar to those reported in experimentally infected guinea pigs and some horses and dogs. Serologic characterization of the isolate permitted differentiation from two recently reported new members of the “VEE complex.” Further evidence for the validity of the source of virus was an outbreak of virologically documented VEE infection in laboratory personnel working with the Panamá virus in the absence of temporal importation of any potential virus-containing materials from outside the country.

Author Notes

Chief, Laboratory of Virology and Rickettsiology, Division of Biologic Standards, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.

Friedman Professor of Pathology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.

Department of Pathology was supported in this work by Contract MD-2530, U.S. Army Research and Development Command.