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WEE virus typically cycles among birds and the mosquito Culex tarsalis (the same mosquito that transmits SLE virus).
Known vector species were grouped into pools of up to 100 mosquitoes and tested for the presence of SLE antigen (using an antigen-capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) and/or WEE virus (using a Vero cell culture plaque assay).
Before the virus inoculation, serum samples from all horses were tested for preexisting antibodies to VEE, eastern (EEE), and western equine encephalitis (WEE) viruses by using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) with cell lysates prepared from BHK-21 cells infected with VEEV strain Trinidad donkey (21,22), EEE virus strain 82V2137 (23), and WEE virus strain Fleming (24).