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J Virol Methods. 2010 Sep;168(1-2):147-51. doi: 10.1016/j.jviromet.2010.05.006. Epub 2010 May 13.

Screening of mosquitoes using SYBR Green I-based real-time RT-PCR with group-specific primers for detection of Flaviviruses and Alphaviruses in Taiwan.

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Department of Health, Research and Diagnostic Center, Centers for Disease Control, Taipei, Taiwan.


Surveillance for infectious agents carried by mosquitoes is important for predicting the risk of vector-borne infectious diseases. In this study, a method was established to mass-screen mosquitoes for viral infections. The assay detected the viral load of 4 dengue virus (DENV) serotypes (DENV-1, DENV-2, DENV-3, and DENV-4), the Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), the Sindbis virus and the Chikungunya virus at 1PFU/mL (determined by real-time RT-PCR) in 36.64-43.45 cycles. This method was applied to 75,364 field-captured mosquitoes that were grouped into 10,343 pools. Japanese encephalitis viruses were detected in 25 pools of 906 Culex tritaeniorhynchus females and a single pool of 44 Cx. fuscocephala females. These viruses were isolated from half of the positive pools. Dengue viruses were detected in 2 pools of 43 Aedes aegypti females. Additionally, mosquitoes that were infected orally with dengue viruses in the laboratory were also used to verify the test. The best detection times for individual mosquitoes after being fed virally-contaminated blood were at day 0 and day 10. The number of mosquitoes detected per pool was up to one infected mosquito plus 59 non-infected mosquitoes; the appropriate storage substances for holding samples within 24h included ice cubes and dry ice. This method, combined with a robust and automated RNA-extraction method and a 96 well real-time RT-PCR machine, allows the processing of a large number of samples at once, making it a powerful tool for monitoring simultaneously local and emerging vector-borne infectious diseases of Flaviviruses and Alphaviruses. This study is the first to quantify the viral load in individual mosquitoes over the course of a 16-day extrinsic incubation period.

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