Reduced Rift Valley Fever Virus Infection Rates in Mosquitoes Associated with Pledget Feedings

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  • Disease Assessment Division, U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Fort Detrick, Frederick, Maryland 21701

Infection rates were compared in Culex pipiens and Aedes taeniorhynchus after they fed on Rift Valley fever (RVF) viremic hamsters or ingested similar doses of RVF virus from blood-soaked pledgets. Infection rates were significantly lower for mosquitoes that ingested virus from a pledget than for those that ingested similar doses from viremic hamsters. The method used to prevent normal clot formation for the pledget feedings (i.e., defibrination by shaking with glass beads or addition of heparin) did not affect subsequent infection rates. Both inhibition of normal clot formation and freezing of virus after it had last been propagated were associated with significantly reduced infection rates with the pledget feedings. Laboratory studies using artificial feeding techniques may not give reliable estimates of the vector competence of mosquitoes for arboviruses.