Intrathoracically inoculated Culicoides sonorensis Wirth & Jones were capable of transmitting vesicular stomatitis New Jersey virus (family Rhabdoviridae, genus Vesiculovirus, VSNJV) during blood feeding on the abdomen of six guinea pigs. None of the guinea pigs infected in this manner developed clinical signs of vesicular stomatitis despite seroconversion for VSNJV. Guinea pigs infected by intradermal inoculations of VSNJV in the abdomen also failed to develop clinical signs of vesicular stomatitis. Three guinea pigs given intradermal inoculations of VSNJV in the foot pad developed lesions typical of vesicular stomatitis. Transmission by the bite of C. sonorensis may have facilitated guinea pig infection with VSNJV because a single infected C. sonorensis caused seroconversion and all guinea pigs infected by insect bite seroconverted compared with 50% of the guinea pigs infected by intradermal inoculation with a higher titer VSNJV inoculum. The role of C. sonorensis in the transmission of VSNJV is discussed.
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