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Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 2008 Aug;102(8):823-32. doi: 10.1016/j.trstmh.2008.03.011. Epub 2008 May 5.

Potential mosquito vectors of arboviruses in Portugal: species, distribution, abundance and West Nile infection.

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  • 1Unidade de Parasitologia e Microbiologia Médicas, Instituto de Higiene e Medicina Tropical, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, R. Junqueira 96, 1349-008 Lisboa, Portugal.


Circulation of West Nile virus in Portugal was demonstrated by serological surveys, and the virus was isolated in 1969 from Anopheles maculipennis s.l. A survey of the whole country was carried out (2001-2004) to assess the abundance of mosquito species and to screen them for arbovirus infection. A total of 770 collections yielded 32460 mosquitoes of 15 species. The regions with the highest abundance of mosquitoes were the coastal and estuarine districts of Santarém, Setúbal and Faro. Culex pipiens s.l., An. maculipennis s.l., Cx. theileri and Ochlerotatus caspius were the most abundant and widespread, accounting for 92% of mosquitoes caught. Anopheles maculipennis s.l. and Cx. pipiens s.l. were present all over the country. Culex theileri and. Oc. caspius were more abundant in the southern and coastal areas, respectively. A total of 2355 mosquito pools were screened by RT-PCR for flaviviruses, of which 987 pools were also screened for bunyaviruses. Culex pipiens s.l. and Cx. univittatus collected in 2004 in the southern district of Faro were found to be infected with West Nile virus. The density and proximity of these mosquitoes to the human populations may constitute a public health threat in the case of involvement in arbovirus transmission cycles.

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