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Acta Trop. 2011 Aug;119(2-3):119-24. doi: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2011.04.018. Epub 2011 May 6.

Virus isolations and high population density implicate Culex antennatus (Becker) (Diptera: Culicidae) as a vector of Rift Valley Fever virus during an outbreak in the Nile Delta of Egypt.

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1
U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit Number Three, Cairo, Egypt.

Abstract

In June, 2003, Egypt's hospital-based electronic disease surveillance system began to record increased cases of acute febrile illness from governorates in the Nile Delta. In response to a request for assistance from the Egyptian Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit No. 3 (NAMRU-3) provided assistance in identifying the cause and extent of this outbreak. Testing of human clinical samples (n=375) from nine governorates in Egypt identified 29 cases of RVF viremia that spanned the period of June to October, and a particular focus of disease in Kafr el Sheikh governorate (7.7% RVF infection rate). Veterinary samples (n=101) collected during this time in Kafr el Sheikh and screened by immunoassay for RVFV-specific IgM identified probable recent infections in cattle (10.4%) and sheep (5%). Entomologic investigations that focused in rural, rice growing villages in the Sidi Salim District of Kafr el Sheikh during August-September, 2003, collected, identified, and tested host-seeking female mosquitoes for the presence of pathogenic viruses. Three isolates of RVF virus (RVFV) were obtained from 297 tested pools of female mosquitoes and all three RVFV isolates came from Cx. antennatus (Becker). While Cx. pipiens has been considered the primary vector of RVF virus in Egypt and is often the most common man-biting species found, Cx. antennatus was the dominant species captured at the 2003 outbreak location in Kafr el Sheikh governorate. This is the first time that Cx. antennatus has been found naturally infected with RVFV in Egypt.

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