Migratory birds could introduce West Nile (WN) virus to Arkansas. The purpose of this study was to establish a cooperative arbovirus surveillance program to monitor mosquitoes and birds in Arkansas for arboviruses. Our objectives were to: 1) perform routine, multicounty collections of mosquitoes and test them for eastern equine encephalitis, St. Louis encephalitis, and WN viruses; and 2) conduct passive surveillance by testing dead wild birds for WN virus. Arbovirus surveillance was organized by the Arkansas Department of Health, University of Arkansas, and Vector Disease Control Incorporated. None of the 14,560 mosquitoes (425 pools) tested were virus positive. Two hundred forty-two dead birds from 62 counties were tested for WN virus. Four blue jays in three counties were positive. These infections are the first reported incidences of WN virus in Arkansas. Sera from five horses with suspected encephalitis all tested negative for WN, eastern equine encephalitis, and western equine encephalitis viruses.
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Vol. 40 • No. 2