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Reduced Survival of Adult Culex Pipiens Infected with Rift Valley Fever Virus

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  • 1 *U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Fort Detrick, Frederick, Maryland 21701
  • | 2 †Department of Zoological and Biomedical Sciences, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio 45701

The effect of Rift Valley fever (RVF) viral infection on the survival of female Culex pipiens was examined. In 3 experiments in which mosquitoes ingested RVF virus, there was a 44% decrease in survival to days 14–16 for transmitting vs. nontransmitting mosquitoes, and a 48% decrease in survival for individuals with disseminated vs. nondisseminated infections. These results were corroborated by other experiments in which survival of mosquitoes intrathoracically inoculated with RVF virus was compared with that of those inoculated with diluent. In both the per os and inoculation tests, uninfected mosquitoes survived significantly longer than infected mosquitoes. Even though mosquitoes with disseminated infections had a lower survival rate than did uninfected mosquitoes, dissemination and transmission rates were similar at days 7 and 14–18 after the infectious bloodmeal. This suggests that nondisseminated individuals were developing disseminated infections and becoming capable of transmitting virus between days 7 and 14–18 at approximately the same rate older transmitters were dying. The decreased survival associated with RVF viral infection should be considered in predictive models of this disease.

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