Natural Vertical Transmission of Western Equine Encephalomyelitis Virus in Mosquitoes

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The mechanism by which western equine encephalomyelitis (WEE) virus and other mosquito-borne alphaviruses (Togaviridae) survive during periods of vector inactivity is unknown. Recently, three strains of WEE virus were isolated from adult Aedes dorsalis collected as larvae from a salt marsh in a coastal region of California. This provides evidence of vertical transmission of WEE virus in mosquitoes in nature. Vertical transmission in Ae. dorsalis and closely related mosquito species may be an important mechanism for the maintenance of WEE virus in temperate regions in North America where horizontal transmission of the virus is seasonal.

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