Isolation of Vesicular Stomatitis Virus New Jersey Serotype from Phlebotomine Sand Flies in Georgia

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  • Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, College of Veterinary Medicine, The University of Georgia, National Veterinary Services Laboratories, Veterinary Services, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Athens, Georgia

Vesicular stomatitis virus New Jersey serotype (VSNJ virus) was isolated from 6 of 610 pools of phlebotomine sand flies (Lutzomyia shannoni) collected on Ossabaw Island, GA. All isolates were from non-blooded females. Infected sand flies were collected at 6 sites at 5 separate times from 3 June through 25 July 1988. Thirty-five pools of Culicoides ssp. and 48 pools of mosquitoes obtained in conjunction with the infected sand flies also were evaluated for VSNJ virus; all were negative. Concomitant serologic monitoring of sentinel swine indicated that VSNJ virus transmission began in the April and continued through the completion of this study in August. The incidence of seroconversion among the sentinel wild swine was 50%. Domestic sentinel swine did not seroconvert at 2 sentinel sites, 1 of 2 seroconverted at 1 site, and 2 of 2 seroconverted at the fourth site. Vesicular lesions were seen on 10 sentinel wild swine during the summer. Vesicular stomatitis virus (NJ) was isolated from 4 of these swine and was diagnosed in 1 additional swine by direct complement-fixation assay. The time period within which VSNJ virus was isolated from sand flies preceded detection of vesicular lesions but corresponded with the period of seroconversion in sentinel swine. Site specific data indicated that VSNJ virus activity was widespread within the study area.

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