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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2001 Dec;951:317-24.

Potential North American vectors of West Nile virus.

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Virology Division, U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Fort Detrick, Maryland 21702-5011, USA.


The outbreak of disease in the New York area in 1999 due to West Nile (WN) virus was the first evidence of the occurrence of this virus in the Americas. To determine potential vectors, more than 15 mosquito species (including Culex pipiens, Cx. nigripalpus, Cx. quinquefasciatus, Cx. salinarius, Aedes albopictus, Ae. vexans, Ochlerotatus japonicus, Oc. sollicitans, Oc. taeniorhynchus, and Oc. triseriatus) from the eastern United States were evaluated for their ability to serve as vectors for the virus isolated from birds collected during the 1999 outbreak in New York. Mosquitoes were allowed to feed on one- to four-day old chickens that had been inoculated with WN virus 1-3 days previously. The mosquitoes were incubated for 12-15 days at 26 degrees C and then allowed to refeed on susceptible chickens and assayed to determine transmission and infection rates. Several container-breeding species (e.g., Ae. albopictus, Oc. atropalpus, and Oc. japonicus) were highly efficient laboratory vectors of WN virus. The Culex species were intermediate in their susceptibility. However, if a disseminated infection developed, all species were able to transmit WN virus by bite. Factors such as population density, feeding preference, longevity, and season of activity also need to be considered in determining the role these species could play in the transmission of WN virus.

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