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J Med Entomol. 2014 May;51(3):661-9.

Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae) as a potential vector of endemic and exotic arboviruses in Australia.


In 2005, established populations of Aedes albopictus (Skuse) were discovered in the Torres Strait, the region that separates Papua New Guinea from northern Australia. This increased the potential for this species to be introduced to mainland Australia. Because it is an arbovirus vector elsewhere, we undertook laboratory-based infection and transmission experiments to determine the potential for Ae. albopictus from the Torres Strait to become infected with and transmit the four major Australian endemic arboviruses--Murray Valley encephalitis virus, West Nile virus Kunjin strain (WNV(KUN)), Ross River virus (RRV), and Barmah Forest virus--as well as the exotic Japanese encephalitis virus. Ae. albopictus is susceptible to infection with all viruses, with infection rates ranging between 8% for WNV(KUN) and 71% for RRV. Transmission rates of approximately 25% were observed for RRV and Barmah Forest virus, but these were < 17% for Murray Valley encephalitis virus, WNV(KUN), and Japanese encephalitis virus. Given its relative vector competence for alphaviruses, we also examined the replication kinetics and extrinsic incubation periods required for transmission of RRV and chikungunya virus. Despite lower body titers, more mosquitoes reared and maintained at 28 degrees C became infected with and transmitted the virus than those reared and maintained at 22 degrees C. The minimum time between Ae. albopictus consuming an infected bloodmeal and transmitting chikungunya virus was 2 d at 28 degrees C and 4 d at 22 degrees C, and for RRV, it was 4 d, irrespective of the temperature. Given its opportunistic feeding habits and aggressive biting behavior, the establishment of Ae. albopictus on the Australian mainland could have a considerable impact on alphavirus transmission.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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