Experimental Colorado Tick Fever Virus Infection in Colorado Mammals

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  • Vector-Borne Diseases Division, Bureau of Laboratories, Center for Disease Control, Public Health Service, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Post Office Box 2087, Fort Collins, Colorado 80522

One hundred and twenty-four small mammals of six species were inoculated with three strains of Colorado tick fever (CTF) virus to define viremia and neutralizing (N) antibody responses. Adult Eutamias minimus and Eutamias umbrinus, and juvenile Peromyscus maniculatus and Spermophilus lateralis, were highly susceptible to development of viremic infection. Adult S. lateralis and P. maniculatus were moderately susceptible (≥50% viremic). Five Sylvilagus nuttalli did not become viremic following experimental inoculation. Spermophilus richardsoni was also relatively resistant (≤50% viremic). The longest duration of viremia (mean 15.8 days) and highest peak viremia levels (mean peak titer 103.9 plaqueforming units per ml) occurred in E. minimus. Adult E. umbrinus, juvenile S. lateralis, and juvenile P. maniculatus had moderate viremias. Adult S. lateralis and S. richardsoni often had short viremias during which virus was only intermittently detectable. N antibody production was most rapid in E. minimus in comparison with other species. In addition, N antibody persisted for 1 year in this species. In other species, many animals lost detectable antibody 5–11 months after infection. No significant differences were found in patterns of infection between three CTF virus strains. We conclude that of the six species inoculated, E. minimus is the best experimental host for CTF virus.

Author Notes

Present address: Philadelphia Department of Public Health, 500 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19146.