Test of recrudescence hypothesis for overwintering of eastern equine encephalomyelitis virus in gray catbirds.
An extensive outbreak of eastern equine encephalomyelitis (EEE) occurred in upstate New York during the summer of 1976, with 37 cases confirmed in horses by isolation of virus and/or by serologic examination. Other specimens collected in the affected area yielded 16 further isolates: 9 from 818 pools of 33,365 mosquitoes, 5 from tissues of 64 birds and 2 from 4 sentinel pheasants with serologic conversions. EEE antibodies were also detected in 81 of 499 wild birds tested. Our data implicate sparrows, cowbirds, and catbirds in the amplification of EEE virus and Culiseta melanura mosquitoes as vectors among avians. During the course of this epizootic a modified serologic technique involving hemagglutination reduction gave reliable diagnoses of EEE as early as 24 hours after receipt of field specimens.