Song sparrows, Melopiza melodia, inoculated subcutaneously with either western equine encephalomyelitis virus (family Togaviridae, genus Alphavirus, WEEV) or West Nile virus (family Flaviviridae, genus Flavivirus, WNV) developed elevated viremias, and they were considered to be competent experimental hosts for both viruses. However, birds that ingested from three to 20 mosquitoes containing comparable amounts of either WEEV or WNV failed to become infected, indicating limited oral susceptibility. Comparatively few field-collected birds had antibodies against either WEEV or WNV, indicating that this species was infrequently bitten by infectious mosquitoes in nature and probably was of limited importance in viral amplification.
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Vol. 44 • No. 2