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Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 2000 May-Jun;94(3):238-42.

Heterogeneity in the host preference of Japanese encephalitis vectors in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand.

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Department of Medical Entomology, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Nagasaki, Japan.


Experiments, using the capture-mark-release-recapture technique inside large nets, were carried out in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand, to examine heterogeneity in the host preference of Japanese encephalitis (JE) vectors. A significantly higher proportion of the vector species that were initially attracted to a cow fed when released into a net with a cow than when released into a net containing a pig. However, Culex vishnui individuals that had been attracted to a pig had a higher feeding rate in a net containing a pig rather than a cow. When mosquitoes were given a choice by being released into a net containing both animals, they exhibited a tendency to feed on the host to which they had originally been attracted. This feeding preference was, however, not shown by the offspring of pig-fed individuals. We have therefore shown evidence of physiological/behavioural conditioning in the host preference of JE vectors rather than genetic variability. Our results suggest that effective control of JE might be achieved by increasing the availability of cows (the dead-end hosts of JE virus) to deflect the vectors from pigs (the amplifying host). The behavioural imprinting which we have found would tend to re-inforce the initial tendency of the vectors to bite cows.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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