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Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis. 2008 Dec;8(6):805-11. doi: 10.1089/vbz.2008.0037.

Vector competence of Australian mosquito species for a North American strain of West Nile virus.

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Australian Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre, University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Australia.


Since the establishment of West Nile virus (WNV) into the United States, concern has arisen that this virus may also pose a serious threat to Australian biosecurity. The vector competence of 19 Australian mosquito species for a North American strain of WNV was evaluated. Mosquitoes collected from Cairns, Brisbane, and Sydney were exposed to blood containing 10(4.0+/-0.3) cell culture infectious dose(50)/mosquito WNV that was isolated from a crow during the 1999 New York outbreak. Mosquitoes were tested 12-15 days later to determine their infection, dissemination, and transmission rates. A number of Culex spp. demonstrated a high vector competence for this virus, with some populations of Culex annulirostris, the primary Australian Kunjin virus vector, displaying transmission rates up to 84%. Similarly, Cx. quinquefasciatus and Cx. gelidus were highly competent, with infection and transmission rates of >80% and >50%, respectively. Common Aedes spp., including Aedes notoscriptus, Ae. vigilax, and Ae. procax, were moderately susceptible, and some Verrallina spp. and Coquillettidia spp. were relatively refractory to infection. Thus, Australia possesses a number of competent mosquito species that could facilitate local transmission of WNV, should it be introduced.

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