Persistence of La Crosse Virus (California Encephalitis Serogroup) in North-Central Illinois

Gary G. ClarkArbovirus Surveillance Program, Division of Laboratories, Department of Public Health, Illinois

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Harvey L. PretulaArbovirus Surveillance Program, Division of Laboratories, Department of Public Health, Illinois

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William H. RohrerArbovirus Surveillance Program, Division of Laboratories, Department of Public Health, Illinois

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Ronald N. HarroffArbovirus Surveillance Program, Division of Laboratories, Department of Public Health, Illinois

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Thomas JakubowskiArbovirus Surveillance Program, Division of Laboratories, Department of Public Health, Illinois

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La Crosse (LAC) virus was first isolated in Illinois from a pool of 50 female Aedes triseriatus mosquitoes collected in July 1976, in Peoria Heights. From 1978 through 1981, 27 strains (11 from males and 16 from females) of LAC virus were recovered from 888 pools containing 22,021 adult A. triseriatus mosquitoes from the same study area. These mosquitoes had developed from larvae and pupae collected from 50 individually identified treeholes. Of the 14 trees that yielded LAC virus-positive mosquitoes, one was positive in 3 of 4 years and another was positive in all 4 years. The latter tree had minimum mosquito field infection rates (MFIR) ranging from 3.4 to 12.7/1,000. Eight (57%) of the trees with positive mosquitoes were red oak (Quercus rubra) while 10 (71%) were in the oak genus (Quercus). The four most productive treeholes accounted for 30% of mosquitoes tested and 52% of the LAC isolations. In 1979, 6,729 A. triseriatus mosquitoes were collected in manbaits and tested for virus. From 1,282 tested in 259 pools (x̄=5), 13 LAC isolates were made, resulting in a field infection rate (FIR) of 11.4/1,000. The remaining 5,447 were tested in 218 pools (x̄=25) and 48 strains of LAC were isolated for a FIR of 9.9/1,000. The relationship of these findings to the occurrence of human LAC encephalitis cases in Peoria County, Illinois is discussed. Repeated recovery of virus from this study area reflects a stable, yet dynamic, focus of LAC virus transmission.

Author Notes

Present address: U.S. Army Research Medical Institute for Infectious Diseases, Fort Detrick, Frederick, Maryland 21701.

Died 30 November 1981.

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