A total of 80 Neotropical bats of five species was inoculated with one of four strains of Venezuelan encephalitis (VE) virus. Virus was detected in the oropharynges of 56% of bats, and most regularly in Artibeus jamaicensis (75%). Titers of virus in oropharyngeal secretions were occasionally very high (8.5 log10 SMicLD50/ml in one A. jamaicensis). Only 2 of 123 urine samples from 50 bats and 2 of 86 fecal samples from 46 bats yielded VE virus. No contact or aerosol virus transmission from bat to bat was detected. VE virus passed transplacentally from two infected mothers to their fetuses, which were aborted. Virus did not pass from one infected mother to her nursing young.
Present address: Department of Veterinary Science, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin 53706.