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Reptiles and Amphibians as Potential Reservoir Hosts of Chikungunya Virus

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  • 1 Department of Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado

Chikungunya virus is an emerging arbovirus of significant human-health concern. Little is known about its sylvatic cycle, including whether ectothermic vertebrates are permissive to infection. In this study, individuals from ten species of reptiles and amphibians were inoculated with chikungunya virus and samples of blood were tested to characterize viremia and seroconversion. Viremia was not detected in cane toads, house geckos, or American alligators, but most of the green iguanas, red-eared sliders, ball and Burmese pythons, leopard frogs, Texas toads, and garter snakes developed viremia. Peak virus titers in serum of up to 4.5, 4.7, and 5.1 log10 plaque-forming units per milliliter were observed for garter snakes, ball pythons, and Texas toads, respectively. These results add to those of other studies that have suggested a possible role for ectothermic vertebrates in the ecology of arbovirus maintenance and transmission in nature.

Author Notes

Address correspondence to Angela M. Bosco-Lauth, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523. E-mail: angela.bosco-lauth@colostate.edu

Financial support: Funding for this work was provided by the Animal Models Core of Colorado State University.

Authors’ address: Angela M. Bosco-Lauth, Airn E. Hartwig, and Richard A. Bowen, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Fort Collins, CO 80523, E-mails: angela.bosco-lauth@colostate.edu, airn.tolnay@colostate.edu, and richard.bowen@colostate.edu.

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