Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis

Scott C. Weaver, Cristina Ferro, Roberto Barrera, Jorge Boshell, Juan Carlos Navarro

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

356 Scopus citations


Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus (VEEV) remains a naturally emerging disease threat as well as a highly developed biological weapon. Recently, progress has been made in understanding the complex ecological and viral genetic mechanisms that coincide in time and space to generate outbreaks. Enzootic, equine avirulent, serotype ID VEEV strains appear to alter their serotype to IAB or IC, and their vertebrate and mosquito host range, to mediate repeated VEE emergence via mutations in the E2 envelope glycoprotein that represent convergent evolution. Adaptation to equines results in highly efficient amplification, which results in human disease. Although epizootic VEEV strains are opportunistic in their use of mosquito vectors, the most widespread outbreaks appear to involve specific adaptation to Ochlerotatus taeniorhynchus, the most common vector in many coastal areas. In contrast, enzootic VEEV strains are highly specialized and appear to utilize vectors exclusively in the Spissipes section of the Culex (Melanoconion) subgenus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-174
Number of pages34
JournalAnnual Review of Entomology
StatePublished - 2004


  • Alphavirus
  • Arbovirus
  • Emergence
  • Mosquito
  • Vector

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Insect Science


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