Horse-, Bird-, and Human-Seeking Behavior and Seasonal Abundance of Mosquitoes in a West Nile Virus Focus of Southern France
ABSTRACT After 35 yr of disease absence, West Nile virus (family Flaviviridae, genus Flavivirus, WNV) circulation has been regularly detected in the Camargue region (southern France) since 2000. WNV was isolated from Culex modestus Ficalbi, which was considered the main vector in southern France after horse outbreaks in the 1960s. Recent WNV transmissions outside of the Cx. modestus distribution suggested the existence of other vectors. To study potential WNV vectors, horse- and bird-baited traps and human landing collections of mosquitoes were carried out weekly from May to October 2004 at two Camargue sites: one site in a wet area and the other site in a dry area, both chosen for their past history of WNV transmission. At the wet site, the most abundant species in bird-baited traps were Culex pipiens L. and Cx. modestus; both species also were found in lower proportions on horses and humans. The most abundant species in horse-baited traps and human landing collections were Aedes caspius (Pallas), Aedes vexans (Meigen), and Anopheles hyrcanus (Pallas) sensu lato; some of these species were occasionally collected with avian blood at the end of the summer. Anopheles maculipennis Meigen sensu lato was an abundant horse feeder, but it was rarely collected landing on human bait and never contained avian blood. At the dry site, Cx. pipiens was the most abundant species in bird- and horse-baited traps. The seasonal and circadian dynamics of these species are analyzed, and their potential in WNV transmission in Camargue discussed.
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ABSTRACT: As part of efforts to more fully understand the potential risks posed by West Nile virus (WNV) and Usutu virus (USUV) in the UK, and following on from previous reports of a potential bridge vector Culex modestus for these viruses, at wetland sites in North Kent, mosquito surveillance was undertaken more widely across the Isle of Sheppey, the Hoo Peninsula and the Kent mainland. Larval surveys were conducted and Mosquito Magnet® adult traps were used to collect adult mosquitoes. Pools of female mosquitoes were tested for the presence of WNV using real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction. A subset of samples was tested for USUV. Culex modestus was found in both the pre-imaginal and imago stage at all five locations surveyed, accounting for 90% of adult mosquitoes collected. WNV or USUV were not detected in any sample. Although no mosquitoes have been shown to be virus positive, the field survey data from this study demonstrated the dominance of an important bridge vector species for WNV in this region. Its wide geographical distribution highlights the need to update risk assessments on WNV introduction, and to maintain vigilance for WNV in the South East of England.Parasites & Vectors 02/2015; 8(1):91. DOI:10.1186/s13071-015-0705-9 · 3.25 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Understanding wildlife disease ecology is becoming an urgent need due to the continuous emergence and spread of several wildlife zoonotic diseases. West Nile Virus (WNV) is the most widespread arthropod-borne virus in the world, and in recent decades there has been an increase both in geographic range, and in the frequency of symptomatic infections in humans and wildlife. The principal vector for WNV in Europe is the common house Culex pipiens mosquito, which feeds on a wide variety of vertebrate host species. Variation in mosquito feeding preference has been described as one of the most influential parameters driving intensity and timing of WNV infection in the United States, but feeding preferences for this species have been little studied in Europe. Here, we estimated feeding preference for wild Cx. pipiens in northern Italy, using molecular analysis to identify the origin of blood meals, and avian census to control host abundance variations. Additionally, we used host bird odour extracts to test experimentally mosquito preferences in the absence of environmental variations. For the first time, we demonstrate a clear feeding preference for the common blackbird (Turdus merula), both for wild collected specimens and in the lab, suggesting a potential important role for this species in the WNV epidemiology in Europe. A seasonal decrease in abundance of blackbirds is associated with increased feeding on Eurasian magpies (Pica pica), and this may be linked to seasonal emergence of WNV in humans. Feeding preferences on blackbirds are more marked in rural areas, while preference for magpies is higher in peridomestic areas. Other species, such as the house sparrow (Passer domesticus) appear to be selected by mosquitoes opportunistically in relation to its abundance. Our findings provide new insights into the ecology of Cx. pipiens in Europe and may give useful indications in terms of implementing targeted WNV surveillance plans. However, a clearer understanding of spatio-temporal variations of Cx. pipiens feeding preferences, and targeted studies on reservoir competence for WNV for these species are therefore now urgently needed as this is essential to describe disease dynamics and quantify virus transmission risk.Parasites & Vectors 04/2015; 8(1):213. DOI:10.1186/s13071-015-0831-4 · 3.25 Impact Factor
Journal of Medical Entomology 01/2015; 52(1):56-62. DOI:10.1093/jme/tju002 · 1.82 Impact Factor