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An Epizootic of Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus, Maine, USA in 2009: Outbreak Description and Entomological Studies

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  • Maine Medical Center Research Institute, South Portland, Maine; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Foothills Campus, Ft. Collins, Colorado; Maine Centers for Disease Control, Augusta, Maine; Atlantic Pest Solutions, Arundel, Maine; SWAMP Inc., Kittery, Maine; University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Department of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, Orono, Maine; United States Department of Agriculture, Animal Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services, Augusta, Maine; Maine Department of Agriculture, Augusta, Maine; Maine Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory, Augusta, Maine

From July to September, 2009, an outbreak of eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEEv) occurred in five counties in Maine. The virus was isolated from 15 horses, 1 llama, and pheasants in three separate captive flocks. One wild turkey, screened before translocation, also showed exposure to the virus in January 2010. Two pools of Culiseta melanura (Coquillett) tested positive for EEEv during routine seasonal surveillance in York County in September, but none of the mosquitoes collected during rapid response surveys tested positive. There were more Cs. melanura in July, August, and September 2009 than in preceding (2006–08) and subsequent (2010–11) years. August and September Cs. melanura abundances were correlated with July rainfall, and abundance of all species combined was correlated with total rainfall for the meteorological summer. This outbreak represents a substantial expansion of the range of EEEv activity in northern New England.

Author Notes

* Address correspondence to Charles Lubelczyk, Maine Medical Center Research Institute, Vector-borne Disease Laboratory, 75 John Roberts Road, Suite 9B, South Portland, ME 04106. E-mail: lubelc@mmc.org

Financial support: Funding for this project was supplied through the Maine Centers for Disease Control and the Maine Medical Center Research Institute.

Authors' addresses: Charles Lubelczyk, Susan P. Elias, Leticia B. Smith, and Robert P. Smith Jr., Maine Medical Center Research Institute, Vector-borne Disease Laboratory, South Portland, ME, E-mails: lubelc@mmc.org, eliass@mmc.org, leticia.smith@maine.edu, and smithr@mmc.org. John-Paul Mutebi, Centers for Disease Control, Division of Vector-borne Infectious Diseases, Fort Collins, CO, E-mails: jmutebi@cdc.gov and grv0@cdc.gov. Sara Robinson and Stephen Sears, Maine Centers for Disease Control, Infectious Diseases, Augusta, ME, E-mails: sara.robinson@maine.gov and stephen.sears@maine.gov. Sherrie A. Juris, Atlantic Pest Solutions – Surveillance, Arundel, ME, E-mail: sjuris@atlanticpestsolutions.net. Kimberly Foss, SWAMP Inc. – Surveillance, Kittery, ME, E-mail: kfoss81@roadrunner.com. Anne Lichtenwalner, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Department of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, Orono, ME, E-mail: anne.lichtenwalner@maine.edu. Kirk J. Shively, United States Department of Agriculture, APHIS Wildlife Services, Augusta, ME, E-mail: Kirk.J.Shively@aphis.usda.gov. Donald E. Hoenig, Maine Department of Agriculture, Animal Health, Augusta, ME, E-mail: Donald.E.Hoenig@maine.gov. Lori Webber, Maine Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory – Virology, Augusta, ME, E-mail: lori.webber@maine.gov.

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