Complex Epidemiological Dynamics of Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus in Florida

Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2019 May;100(5):1266-1274. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.18-0783.


Eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEEV) infection results in high mortality in infected horses and humans. Florida has been identified as an important source of EEEV epidemics to other states in the United States. In this study, we further characterized the epidemiological and evolutionary dynamics of EEEV in Florida. Epidemiological analysis of sentinel chicken seroconversion rates to EEEV infections during 2005-2016 suggested significant seasonality of EEEV activity in Florida. We observed significant annual activity of EEEV in the North and North Central regions, with little significant seasonality in the Panhandle region. Phylogenetic analysis of complete EEEV genome sequences from different host sources and regions in Florida during 1986-2014 revealed extensive genetic diversity and spatial dispersal of the virus within Florida and relatively more clustering of the viruses in the Panhandle region. We found no significant association between EEEV genetic variation and host source. Overall, our study revealed a complex epidemiological dynamic of EEEV within Florida, implicating the Panhandle region as a possible source of the virus with sustained year-round transmission. These findings will help in implementing targeted control measures that can have the most impact in reducing or eliminating EEEV and other mosquito-borne viral infections within Florida and in the rest of the United States.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood
  • Chickens / virology*
  • Encephalitis Virus, Eastern Equine / genetics
  • Encephalomyelitis, Eastern Equine / blood
  • Encephalomyelitis, Eastern Equine / epidemiology*
  • Epidemiological Monitoring / veterinary*
  • Florida / epidemiology
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Genome, Viral
  • Geography
  • Phylogeny
  • Public Health
  • Seasons*
  • Seroconversion


  • Antibodies, Viral