Factors Influencing the Transmission of Western Equine Encephalomyelitis Virus Between its Vertebrate Maintenance Hosts and from Them to Humans

C. E. Gordon SmithLondon School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London WC1E 7HT, United Kingdom

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A simple model is used to explore the extent to which the uniquely comprehensive studies of western equine encephalomyelitis in Kern County, California, by Reeves and his colleagues over many years, explain the dynamics and epidemiology of the infection. It is concluded that not only does this series of integrated field and laboratory studies successfully account for these phenomena, to an extent which is unlikely to be substantially improved upon, not least because of the inherent difficulties in measuring the key factors with greater precision; but it also provides a unique model of the dedication and ingenuity required if comparable levels of understanding of the ecology and epidemiology of other arbovirus infections are to be achieved.