Everglades virus (EVEV) is an alphavirus in the Venezuelan equine encephalitis complex. It circulates among rodents and vector mosquitoes in Florida and occasionally infects humans. The seroprevalence in humans is high, but EVEV infections may be underdiagnosed because the disease in most humans is not sufficiently severe to warrant a clinic visit or because symptoms are similar to those of other viral diseases and may not warrant etiologic diagnosis. Previously, recorded EVEV activity was limited to southern Florida. This study was conducted to determine how widespread EVEV is in Florida by using dogs as sentinels. Antibody was detected in dogs throughout Florida, including dogs as far north as
Tallahassee.

COMMENTARY: EVEV does not cause clinical disease in dogs but, as this paper shows, they can be infected. Because pet dogs live close to humans and experience similar mosquito exposure, they are good sentinels for arbovirus infections.

Serologic evidence of widespread Everglades virus activity in dogs, Florida. Coffey LL, Crawford C, Dee J, et al. EMERG INFECT DIS 12:1873-1878, 2006.