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  • Author or Editor: Nicholas Komar x
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Objective—To evaluate humoral immune responses of emus vaccinated with commercially available equine polyvalent or experimental monovalent eastern equine encephalomyelitis (EEE) virus and western equine encephalomyelitis (WEE) virus vaccines and to determine whether vaccinated emus were protected against challenge with EEE virus.

Design—Cohort study.

Animals—25 emus.

Procedure—Birds were randomly assigned to groups (n = 5/group) and vaccinated with 1 of 2 commercially available polyvalent equine vaccines, a monovalent EEE virus vaccine, or a monovalent WEE virus vaccine or were not vaccinated. Neutralizing antibody responses against EEE and WEE viruses were examined at regular intervals for up to 9 months. All emus vaccinated with the equine vaccines and 2 unvaccinated control birds were challenged with EEE virus. An additional unvaccinated bird was housed with the control birds to assess the possibility of contact transmission.

Results—All 4 vaccines induced detectable neutralizing antibody titers, and all birds vaccinated with the equine vaccines were fully protected against an otherwise lethal dose of EEE virus. Unvaccinated challenged birds developed viremia (> 109 plaque-forming units/ml of blood) and shed virus in feces, oral secretions, and regurgitated material. The unvaccinated pen-mate became infected in the absence of mosquito vectors, presumably as a result of direct virus transmission between birds.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicate that emus infected with EEE virus develop a hightiter viremia and suggest that they may serve as important virus reservoirs. Infected emus shed EEE virus in secretions and excretions, making them a direct hazard to pen-mates and attending humans. Commercially available polyvalent equine vaccines protect emus against EEE virus infection. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;218:1469–1473)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To estimate West Nile virus (WNV) infection rates, assess environmental variables that correlated with seropositivity in dogs and cats, and assess whether pets should be considered as possible sentinels for WNV and therefore of potential human exposure.

Design—Cross-sectional serosurvey.

Animals—442 dogs and 138 cats.

Procedure—Serum samples were screened for seropositivity against WNV by use of the plaque reduction neutralization test.

Results—116 (26%) dogs and 13 (9%) cats yielded positive results. The odds of seropositivity against WNV for outdoor-only family dogs were almost 19 times as great as those for indoor-only family dogs and almost twice as great for stray dogs as for family dogs. Family dogs not receiving heartworm medication were 2.5 times as likely to yield positive results for antibodies against WNV as family dogs receiving heartworm medication.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Seropositivity was greater for outdoor family dogs than for indoor family dogs. Further investigation of the potential use of stray dogs as sentinel indicators for WNV infection and the potential risk of human exposure is warranted. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2005;226:1349–1353).

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association