Journal or Book Title
Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases
The West Nile virus (WNV) viremia and shedding profiles of 11 adult fox squirrels (Sciurus niger) infected by needle inoculation or mosquito bite were characterized. Daily mean titers (95% confidence intervals) for all squirrels on days 1 through 6 postexposure (p.e.) were: 10(1.7 (1.32.1)), 10(4.4 (4.04.8)), 10(5.3 (5.05.6)), 10(4.4 (3.94.9)), 10(2.7 (2.03.4)), and 10(1.1 (0.52.1)) plaque-forming units (PFU)/mL. The highest WNV serum titers of individual squirrels infected by needle inoculation or mosquito bite ranged from 10(4.5) to 10(6.1) and from 10(5.1) to 10(5.3) PFU/mL, respectively. Nine (82%) squirrels, including all 4 squirrels infected by mosquito bite, had WNV serum titers > or =10(5.1) PFU/mL that persisted on average for 1.6 +/- 0.3 days. Infection and dissemination rates of Culex pipiens (L.) that fed on squirrels with serum titers of 10(4.4 +/- 0.1) PFU/mL were 56% and 13%, respectively. Both of these rates increased to over 80% when fed on squirrels with a mean WNV titer of 10(5.5 +/- 0.1) PFU/mL. Infection and dissemination also occurred in Aedes triseriatus (Say) but at a much lower rate. WNV was isolated from the oral and rectal cavities of all squirrels and from urine that was opportunistically collected from 5 squirrels. The largest quantity of WNV recovered from swabs of the oral cavity and urine was 10(3.1) PFU. The longest periods after exposure that WNV was isolated from the oral cavity and urine from a squirrel were 22 and 17 days p.e., respectively. WNV RNA was also detected in kidney tissue in 1 squirrel 29 days p.e., suggesting that fox squirrels can be persistently infected. Collectively these observations provide further evidence that squirrels can contribute to the natural history and epidemiology of WNV, especially in peridomestic environments.
This is a copy of an article published in the Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases © 2008 [copyright Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.]; Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases is available online at: http://online.liebertpub.com.
Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
Platt, Kenneth B.; Tucker, Brad J.; Halbur, Patrick G.; Blitvich, Bradley J.; Fabiosa, Flor G.; Mullin, Kathleen; Parikh, Grishma R.; Pravina, Kitikoon; Bartholomay, Lyric; and Rowley, Wayne A., "Fox Squirrels (Sciurus niger) Develop West Nile Virus Viremias Sufficient for Infecting Select Mosquito Species" (2008). Entomology Publications. 151.