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Open Access Seroprevalence of West Nile Virus in Nonhuman Primates as Related to Mosquito Abundance at Two National Primate Research Centers

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West Nile virus (WNV) surfaced as an emerging infectious disease in the northeastern United States in 1999, gradually spread across the continent, and is now endemic throughout North America. Outdoor-housed nonhuman primates at the Tulane National Primate Research Center (TNPRC) in Louisiana were documented with a relatively high prevalence (36%) of antibodies to West Nile virus. We examined the prevalence of antibodies to WNV in a nonhuman primate population housed in outdoor colonies at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center Field Station located near Atlanta, Georgia. We screened rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) and sooty mangabeys (Cercocebus atys) that were at least 3 y old by serum neutralization for antibodies to WNV and confirmed these results by hemagglutination-inhibition assay. None of the 45 rhesus monkeys had antibodies to WNV, but 3 of the 45 mangabeys (6.6%) were positive by both serum neutralization and hemagglutination-inhibition tests. The ratio of seroprevalences in the TNPRC and Yerkes primate populations was similar to the ratio of WNV incidences in people in Louisiana and Georgia from 2002 to 2004. The difference in the exposure of nonhuman primates (and possibly humans) to WNV between these 2 regions is consistent with the difference in the abundance of mammal-biting WNV-infectious mosquitoes, which was 23 times lower near Yerkes than around TNPRC in 2003 and 33 times lower in 2004.

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Document Type: Miscellaneous

Publication date: 2007-02-01

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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