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Ecological Studies of Japanese Encephalitis Virus in Hokkaido: Interepidemic Outbreaks of Swine Abortion and Evidence for the Virus to Overwinter Locally

Ikuo Takashima
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Takutoshi WatanabeDepartment of Veterinary Public Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Hokkaido University, Sapporo 060, Japan

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Naoto Ouchi
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Nobuo Hashimoto
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Outbreaks of abortion and stillbirth caused by Japanese encephalitis virus were observed in swine populations in Hokkaido in 1984 and 1985. Two strains of Japanese encephalitis virus were isolated from aborted fetuses in different outbreaks, and the antigenic types of the strains found to be different from Nakayama and JaGAr-01. The outbreak of 1985 was in early June, the interepidemic period of Japanese encephalitis in northern temperate zones. A seroepidemiological survey carried out from 1984 to 1986 in 14 districts showed high rates of Japanese encephalitis antibody in swine sera in two districts. A more detailed 3-year survey showed that pig farms positive for Japanese encephalitis antibody were detected at the same sites in Hiroshima near Sapporo as negative farms. These data suggest that Japanese encephalitis virus is maintained in a distinct endemic focus and has the capacity to overwinter locally in Hokkaido.

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