Rift Valley fever virus and European mosquitoes: vector competence of Culex pipiens and Stegomyia albopicta (=Aedes albopictus) (VMERGE 017)

Last update: 5 October 2017

Rift Valley fever (RVF) is a mosquito-borne disease caused by the Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV). Rift Valley fever affects a large number of species, including human, and has severe impact on public health and the economy, especially in African countries. The present study examined the vector competence of three different European mosquito species, Culex pipiens (Linnaeus, 1758) form molestus (Diptera: Culicidae), Culex pipiens hybrid form and Stegomyia albopicta (=Aedes albopictus) (Skuse, 1894) (Diptera: Culicidae). Mosquitoes were artificially fed with blood containing RVFV. Infection, disseminated infection and transmission efficiency were evaluated. This is the first study to assess the transmission efficiency of European mosquito species using a virulent RVFV strain. The virus disseminated in Cx. pipiens hybrid form and in S. albopicta. Moreover, infectious viral particles were isolated from saliva of both species, showing their RVFV transmission capacity. The presence of competent Cx. pipiens and S. albopicta in Spain indicates that an autochthonous outbreak of RVF may occur if the virus is introduced. These findings provide information that will help health authorities to set up efficient entomological surveillance and RVFV vector control programmes.

Last update: 5 October 2017

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