The present experimental results concern primarily the question, whether or not mosquitoes feeding on chickens having viremia, as a result of the bite of infected mites, can acquire the virus of St. Louis encephalitis and whether or not mosquitoes thus infected, can transmit the virus to chickens and hamsters.
During the course of the investigation, 7 species of mosquitoes of 3 genera were infected with the virus in one or two or all of three ways: by feeding on a suspension of infected mouse brain tissue, by feeding on chickens in which viremia had been produced by subcutaneous inoculation of virus, and by feeding on chickens having viremia as a result of the bite of infected mites. These mosquitoes transmitted the virus to chickens at periods varying from 5 to 33 days after the infective meal.
The virus of St. Louis encephalitis was transmitted to hamsters by Culex pipiens at periods varying from 4 to 27 days after feeding on chickens having viremia as a result of the bite of infected mites. While viremia was demonstrated readily in hamsters, signs of encephalitis did not develop.
In all transmission experiments the method of chorioallantoic passage proved necessary for the demonstration of viremia.
A concept of the epidemiology of St. Louis encephalitis is presented: two blood-sucking vectors may be involved, one an arachnid, the mite, maintaining the virus in nature by transovarial passage, and the other, an insect, the mosquito, which carries the infection from birds to other vertebrates including man.