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Am J Epidemiol. 1988 Aug;128(2):285-97.

Entomologic studies after a St. Louis encephalitis epidemic in Grand Junction, Colorado.

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Division of Vector-Borne Viral Diseases, Centers for Disease Control, Fort Collins, CO 80522.


In 1986, after a St. Louis encephalitis epidemic in Grand Junction, Colorado, in 1985, vector mosquitoes in the city were surveyed to correlate their bionomics and infection rates with the occurrence of human disease. No human cases were reported, but mosquito surveillance disclosed St. Louis encephalitis virus in Culex tarsalis and Culex pipiens pipiens. Mosquitoes were collected with gravid traps designed to attract Cx. p. pipiens and with Centers for Disease Control light traps. Culex p. pipiens was the predominant vector mosquito collected and was captured chiefly in gravid traps. The Culex tarsalis population emerged and expanded approximately one month earlier than did the Cx. p. pipiens population. Consequently, Cx. p. pipiens was the predominant vector species after August. Infection rates throughout the surveillance period (June to September) were severalfold higher in Cx. tarsalis than in Cx. p. pipiens; however, in late summer, diminished numbers of Cx. tarsalis and a persistent population of Cx. p. pipiens resulted in relatively larger numbers of infected Cx. p. pipiens. Thus, the participation of Cx. p. pipiens as a St. Louis encephalitis vector would have been underestimated in previous studies employing light traps alone. These studies provide further evidence that Cx. p. pipiens-associated urban St. Louis encephalitis and rural Cx. tarsalis-associated St. Louis encephalitis cycles may coexist in the West.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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