The virulence of a yellow fever (YF) virus (P-16065) isolated from a fatal case of vaccine-associated viral encephalitis was investigated. P-16065 appeared identical to its parent vaccine virus (17D-204 USA, lot 6145) when examined with monoclonal antibodies except that YF wild type-specific MAb S24 recognized P-16065 but not 17D-204 USA 6145. Thus, a mutation of at least one epitope on the envelope (E) protein had occurred. Unlike 17D-204 USA 6145 and other 17D vaccine viruses, P-16065 was neuroinvasive and virulent for mice after intranasal inoculation, and neurovirulent for monkeys after intracerebral inoculation. The E protein of P-16065 differed from 17D-204 USA by two amino acids at positions 155 and 303. Changes at amino acid position 155 are found in other YF vaccine viruses that are not neurovirulent, and it is therefore postulated that the change at position 303 is involved in the alteration of the phenotype of P-16065 and may be important for virulence of YF virus.