Arboviruses are important zoonotic agents with complex transmission cycles and are not well understood because they may involve many vectors and hosts. We studied sympatric wild mammals and hematophagous mosquitoes having the potential to act as hosts and vectors in two areas of southern Mexico. Mosquitoes, bats, and rodents were captured in Calakmul (Campeche) and Montes Azules (Chiapas), between November 2010 and August 2011. Spleen samples from 146 bats and 14 rodents were tested for molecular evidence of Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus (VEEV), eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEEV), western equine encephalitis virus (WEEV), and West Nile virus (WNV) using PCR protocols. Bat (Artibeus lituratus, Carollia sowelli, Glossophaga soricina, and Sturnira parvidens) and rodent (Sigmodon hispidus and Oryzomys alfaroi) species were positive for VEEV. No individuals were positive for WNV, EEEV, or WEEV. A total of 1,298 mosquitoes were collected at the same sites, and five of the mosquito species collected were known VEEV vectors (Aedes fulvus, Mansonia indubitans, Psorophora ferox, Psorophora cilipes, and Psorophora confinnis). This survey simultaneously presents the first molecular evidence, to our knowledge, of VEEV in bats and rodents from southern Mexico and the identification of potential sympatric vectors. Studies investigating sympatric nonhuman hosts, vectors, and arboviruses must be expanded to determine arboviral dynamics in complex systems in which outbreaks of emerging and reemerging zoonoses are continuously occurring.
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Vol. 53 • No. 3