Transmission of Rift Valley Fever Virus by the Sand Fly, Phlebotomus duboscqi (Diptera: Psychodidae)

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  • Virology Division, U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Division of Communicable Diseases and Immunology, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Fort Detrick, Frederick, Maryland

Studies were conducted to determine if the sand fly Phlebotomus duboscqi could serve as a vector of Rift Valley fever (RVF) virus. When 145 P. duboscqi were fed on a hamster with RVF viremia (∼ 109 PFU/ml of blood), 72 (50%) became infected. Of 5 with disseminated infections (i.e., virus recovered from their legs) 4 transmitted virus to hamsters by bite. Sand flies were uniformly infected when RVF virus was inoculated by the intrathoracic route, and each of 31 sand flies so inoculated that fed on a hamster transmitted virus. None of 331 progeny of inoculated sand flies or 230 progeny of orally exposed sand flies contained virus. Sand flies could serve as vectors of RVF virus.