A Rapid Diagnostic Assay for Eastern Equine Encephalomyelitis Viral RNA

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  • Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, Purdue University, Center for Economic Entomology, Illinois State Natural History Survey, Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory, University of Florida-Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Yale Arbovirus Research Unit, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, School of Medicine, Yale University, West Lafayette, Indiana

Eastern equine encephalomyelitis virus (EEEV) has been a low-frequency, but serious human and veterinary health problem. Increased frequency of this mosquito-borne virus is anticipated as wetlands are maintained and re-established. Control of EEEV has depended on mosqu ito abatement in response to increasing frequency of EEEV in the environment. A coupled reverse transcription/polymerase chain reaction assay was designed to rapidly, sensitively, and specifically detect EEEV RNA. The assay successfully detected the viral RNA in a single-blind study of a set of field samples composed of either pooled mosquitoes or bird tissue. These results suggest that it would be practical to use this assay for deciding when and where to implement mosquito abatement.