The Newsroom    Published Friday, Oct. 5, 2012, 2:59 PM
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Vipers go viral

Science Magazine/Science Now Online News, October 5, 2012

Every year as the days grow warmer, the Eastern equine encephalitis virus reemerges along the eastern coast of the United States, where it causes devastating disease in horses and, more rarely, humans. Scientists have long wondered how the virus, which is transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito, survives the cold, mosquito-killing North American winters. Now, a new study suggests that snakes harbor the virus through the winter, but experts disagree on whether the finding clinches the question for good. “This is very, very impressive work,” says Scott Weaver, a virologist at UTMB, who has worked extensively on EEEV but was not involved in the study. "It makes a very strong case that snakes play an important role in maintaining the virus."

 




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