An Ecological Survey for Arboviruses in Almirante, Panama, 1959–1962


A three-year survey was conducted to determine the arboviruses active in a tropical rainforest area of Panama. Materials for virus isolation attempts consisted of blood specimens from febrile patients, sera and tissues from domestic and wild vertebrates, blood-sucking insects taken on a variety of baits and sentinel mice exposed in the field. These specimens were collected or exposed in a variety of habitats which included upland tropical rainforest, swamp forest, open freshwater marsh and domestic and peridomestic habitats. Following is a list of the arboviruses isolated and the sources from which they were obtained: Venezuelan equine encephalomyelitis: human blood, wild rodents, sentinel mice, adult birds, nestling birds, mosquitoes; Una: mosquitoes; Mayaro: mosquitoes; Bussuquara: sentinel mice, mosquitoes; Ilhéus: adult birds, mosquitoes, Phlebotomus sandflies; Caraparu: sentinel mice; Nepuyo: wild rodents; Ossa: human blood; Madrid: human blood, sentinel mice; BT 4971 (new group C agent): wild rodents, sentinel mice; BT 5012 (new group C agent): wild rodents, sentinel mice; Guama group: sentinel mice, mosquitoes; Cache Valley: mosquitoes; Guaroa: mosquitoes; Wyeomyia: mosquitoes; Vesicular stomatitis (Indiana): Phlebotomus sandflies; BT 436 (new arbovirus type): human blood, Phlebotomus sandflies.

The report concludes with a discussion of annual cycles of virus activity and considerations on the habitat in relation to arbovirus activity.

Author Notes

Gorgas Memorial Laboratory, Panama, R. P.

University of Panama Medical School, Panama, R. P.