Arbovirus Investigations in Argentina, 1977–1980

IV. Serologic Surveys and Sentinel Equine Program

View More View Less
  • * Division of Vector-Borne Viral Diseases, Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control, Public Health Service, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, P.O. Box 2087, Fort Collins, Colorado 80522
  • | Institute of Virology, Faculty of Medical Science, University of Cordoba, Estafeta 32, Cordoba, Argentina
  • | Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, Sante Fe Province, Santa Fe, Argentina
  • | § Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Health, Bureau of Epidemiology and Disease Prevention, P.O. Box 90, Room 1006, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17108
Restricted access

Serologic surveys of wild and domestic birds, wild mammals, and horses were conducted during arbovirus field studies in Argentina from 1977 through 1980, a non-epizootic interval. The prevalence of neutralizing antibodies to eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) was consistently higher than to western equine encephalitis (WEE) virus in all species and all areas. The presence of antibodies in short-lived avian species and in young unvaccinated horses and the demonstration of seroconversions in horses during the period, indicated that these viruses are either enzootic in, or annually reintroduced into, Argentina. Antibodies to AG80-646, a new subtype of WEE virus isolated in the subtropical north (Chaco Province) from Culex (Melanoconion) mosquitoes, were found in horses and rodents in that region. Antibodies to the TC-83 strain of Venezuelan equine encephalitis (VEE) virus were found in all areas studied. The presence of antibodies in some horses was probably related to vaccination, but the demonstration of seroconversions in sentinel horses and of antibodies in birds and wild mammals indicates active transmission of VEE virus. In 1980 a new enzootic subtype of VEE virus (AG80-663) was isolated from mosquitoes in Chaco; neutralizing antibodies to this virus were prevalent in horses and rodents in this area. Infections with Aura and Una viruses were most common in the subtropical northern provinces. Infection with St. Louis encephalitis was prevalent and widespread, and birds, principally passerine and columbiform species, appear to be the principal hosts. An interesting and unexplained finding was the absence of arbovirus antibodies, in particular SLE antibodies in house sparrows (Passer domesticus). Antibody prevalences in horses exceeded 50% in all areas, and 12% of horses surveyed in Santa Fe Province developed antibody in a 17-month period. Antibodies to other flaviviruses were rare. A high prevalence of immunity to Maguari virus was found in horses; this agent is considered to be a potential equine pathogen. Antibodies to 2 new viruses, Barranqueras and Resistencia, which had been isolated from Cx. (Melanoconion) in Chaco Province, were found in rodents there. Immunity to Gamboa group viruses was prevalent, and birds were implicated as principal hosts.