Contact-Spread of Venezuelan Equine Encephalomyelitis Virus Among Cotton Rats Via Urine or Feces and the Naso- or Oropharynx

A Possible Transmission Cycle in Nature

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  • Department of Microbiology, Cornell University Medical College, New York, N. Y. 10021


Venezuelan equine encephalomyelitis virus, mosquito-borne in nature, caused viruria in cotton rats that lasted 2 to 8 days after infection. Cotton rats became infected by intranasal or intraoral inoculation of virus in cotton-rat urine or feces. Thus, contact spread of VEE virus via urine or feces and the naso- or oropharynx of cotton rats may provide an alternative, extramosquito pathway for maintenance and amplification of this virus in naturally infected cottonrat populations in tropical North and Central America.