Mosquitoes collected in the Amazon Basin, near Iquitos, Peru, were evaluated for their susceptibility to epizootic (IAB and IC) and enzootic (ID and IE) strains of Venezuelan equine encephalomyelitis (VEE) virus. After feeding on hamsters with a viremia of ≈108 plaque-forming units of virus per milliliter, Culex (Melanoconion) gnomatus Sallum, Huchings, & Ferreira, Culex (Melanoconion) vomerifer Komp, and Aedes fulvus (Wiedemann) were highly susceptible to infection with all four subtypes of VEE virus (infection rates ≥87%). Likewise, Psorophora albigenu (Peryassu) and a combination of Mansonia indubitans Dyar & Shannon and Mansonia titillans (Walker) were moderately susceptible to all four strains of VEE virus (infection rates ≥50%). Although Psorophora cingulata (Fabricius) and Coquillettidia venezuelensis (Theobald) were susceptible to infection with each of the VEE strains, these two species were not efficient transmitters of any of the VEE strains, even after intrathoracic inoculation, indicating the presence of a salivary gland barrier in these species. In contrast to the other species tested, both Culex (Melanoconion) pedroi Sirivanakarn & Belkin and Culex (Culex) coronator Dyar & Knab were nearly refractory to each of the strains of VEE virus tested. Although many of the mosquito species found in this region were competent laboratory vectors of VEE virus, additional studies on biting behavior, mosquito population densities, and vertebrate reservoir hosts of VEE virus are needed to incriminate the principal vector species.
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Vol. 37 • No. 6