Since Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus (VEEV) was isolated in Peru in 1942, >70 isolates have been obtained from mosquitoes, humans, and sylvatic mammals primarily in the Amazon region. To investigate genetic relationships among the Peru VEEV isolates and between the Peru isolates and other VEEV strains, a fragment of the PE2 gene was amplified and analyzed by single-stranded conformation polymorphism. Representatives of seven genotypes underwent sequencing and phylogenetic analysis. The results identified four VEE complex lineages that cocirculate in the Amazon region: subtypes ID (Panama and Colombia/Venezuela genotypes), IIIC, and a new, proposed subtype IIID, which was isolated from a febrile human, mosquitoes, and spiny rats. Both ID lineages and the IIID subtype are associated with febrile human illness. Most of the subtype ID isolates belonged to the Panama genotype, but the Colombia/Venezuela genotype, which is phylogenetically related to epizootic strains, also continues to circulate in the Amazon basin.
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