House finches, Carpodacus mexicanus, were experimentally infected with high and standard doses of western equine encephalomyelitis virus (WEEV) or St. Louis encephalitis virus (SLEV) to determine whether high doses would produce an elevated viremia response and a high frequency of chronic infections. Finches inoculated with ≈100,000 plaque forming units (PFU) of WEEV or SLEV produced viremia and antibody responses similar to those in finches inoculated with ≈100 PFU of WEEV or 1000 PFU of SLEV, the approximate quantities of virus expectorated by blood-feeding Culex tarsalis Coquillett. Infected finches were held through winter and then necropsied. Only one finch inoculated with the high dose of SLEV developed a chronic infection. Our data indicated that elevated infectious doses of virus may not increase the viremia level or the frequency of chronic infection in house finches.
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Vol. 41 • No. 5