PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases (2016) 10 (9 - e0004959)

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Sonja Hall-Mendelin, Alyssa T. Pyke, Peter R. Moore, Ian M. Mackay, Jamie L. McMahon, Scott A. Ritchie, Carmel T. Taylor, Frederick A.J. Moore and Andrew F. van den Hurk (2016)
Assessment of local mosquito species incriminates Aedes aegypti as the potential vector of Zika virus in Australia
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 10 (9 - e0004959)
Within the last 10 years Zika virus (ZIKV) has caused unprecedented epidemics of human disease in the nations and territories of the western Pacific and South America, and continues to escalate in both endemic and non-endemic regions. We evaluated the vector competence of Australian mosquitoes for ZIKV to assess their potential role in virus transmission.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Mosquitoes were exposed to infectious blood meals containing the prototype African ZIKV strain. After 14 days incubation at 28°C and high relative humidity, infection, dissemination and transmission rates were assessed. Infection in Culex annulirostris and Cx. sitiens could not be detected. 8% of Cx. quinquefasciatus were infected, but the virus did not disseminate in this species. Despite having infection rates > 50%, Aedes notoscriptus and Ae. vigilax did not transmit ZIKV. In contrast, Ae. aegypti had infection and transmission rates of 57% and 27%, respectively. In susceptibility trials, the virus dose required to infect 50% (ID50) of Ae. aegypti was106.4 tissue culture infectious dose50 (TCID50)/mL. Additionally, a threshold viral load within the mosquito of at least 105.1 TCID50 equivalents/mL had to be reached before virus transmission occurred.
We confirmed Ae. aegypti to be the most likely mosquito vector of ZIKV in Australia, although the restricted distribution of this species will limit the receptive zone to northern Queensland where this species occurs. Importantly, the role in ZIKV transmission of Culex and other Aedes spp. tested will be negligible. Despite being the implicated vector, the relatively high ID50 and need for a high titer disseminated infection in Ae. aegypti suggest that high mosquito population densities will be required to facilitate epidemic ZIKV transmission among the currently immunologically naïve human population in Australia.
(The abstract is excluded from the Creative Commons licence and has been copied with permission by the publisher.)
Full text of article
Database assignments for author(s): Scott A. Ritchie

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
general biology - morphology - evolution

Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.

Aedes aegypti Australia (NT+QLD)