During field studies in 1981 on the transmission of bluetongue viruses in ruminants in Florida, a virus was isolated from Culicoides insignis collected near water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) recently imported from Trinidad. Electron microscopy showed that this isolate, for which the same Bivens Arm virus is proposed, has rhabdovirus morphology. Serologic comparisons were made with recognized rhabdoviruses from terrestrial vertebrates and hematophagous arthropods. Indirect fluorescent antibody, complement fixation and neutralization tests indicated antigenic reactivity between Bivens Arm virus and two rhabdoviruses found only in Australia, Tibrogargan and Coastal Plains viruses. The Australian isolates cause subclinical infections in cattle and water buffalo and are believed to be transmitted by Culicoides. Initially, it was thought that Bivens Arm virus may have been introduced to Florida with the water buffalo from Trinidad, but a serologic survey of cattle serum, collected before the importation of the buffalo revealed antibody to the virus in cattle on farms located in diverse areas of Florida.
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