Laboratory-reared Culicoides sonorensis Wirth & Jones were infected with vesicular stomatitis virus serotype New Jersey (family Rhabdoviridae, genus Vesiculovirus, VSNJV) through intrathoracic inoculation. After 10-d incubation at 25°C, these insects were allowed to blood feed on four steers. Two other steers were exposed to VSNJV through intralingual inoculation with 108 tissue culture infective dose50 VSNJV. All six steers became seropositive for VSNJV. The results demonstrate the ability of C. sonorensis to transmit VSNJV to livestock. Only the animals intralingually inoculated with VSNJV showed clinical signs in the form of vesicles at the site of inoculation. Uninfected C. sonorensis allowed to feed on the exposed animals did not become infected with VSNJV. Animals infected by C. sonorensis showed a slower antibody response compared with intralingually inoculated animals. This is probably because of different amounts of virus received via insect transmission and syringe inoculation. A significant difference was found in the serum acute-phase protein α-1-acid glycoprotein in animals that received VSNJV through C. sonorensis transmission. These animals had previously been exposed to insect attack in the field compared with intralingually inoculated animals and C. sonorensis-infected animals that had been protected from insect attack. The failure to observe clinical signs of vesicular stomatitis through transmission of VSNJV by C. sonorensis may explain widespread subclinical infections during vesicular stomatitis epidemics.
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Vol. 43 • No. 2