Vector Competence of Egyptian Mosquitoes for Rift Valley Fever Virus

Michael J. TurellApplied Research Division, U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Fort Detrick, U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit No. 3, Research and Training Center on Vectors of Diseases, Ain Shams University, Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, Frederick, Maryland, Egypt

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Steven M. PresleyApplied Research Division, U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Fort Detrick, U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit No. 3, Research and Training Center on Vectors of Diseases, Ain Shams University, Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, Frederick, Maryland, Egypt

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Adel M. GadApplied Research Division, U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Fort Detrick, U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit No. 3, Research and Training Center on Vectors of Diseases, Ain Shams University, Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, Frederick, Maryland, Egypt

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Stanton E. CopeApplied Research Division, U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Fort Detrick, U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit No. 3, Research and Training Center on Vectors of Diseases, Ain Shams University, Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, Frederick, Maryland, Egypt

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David J. DohmApplied Research Division, U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Fort Detrick, U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit No. 3, Research and Training Center on Vectors of Diseases, Ain Shams University, Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, Frederick, Maryland, Egypt

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John C. MorrillApplied Research Division, U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Fort Detrick, U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit No. 3, Research and Training Center on Vectors of Diseases, Ain Shams University, Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, Frederick, Maryland, Egypt

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Ray R. ArthurApplied Research Division, U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Fort Detrick, U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit No. 3, Research and Training Center on Vectors of Diseases, Ain Shams University, Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, Frederick, Maryland, Egypt

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Reintroduction of Rift Valley fever (RVF) into Egypt in 1993 raised concerns about the potential for Egyptian mosquitoes to transmit the virus. We evaluated the ability of Aedes caspius, Culex pipiens, Cx. antennatus, Cx. perexiguus, Cx. poicilipes, and Anopheles pharoensis collected in the Aswan area and Cx. pipiens collected in the Nile Delta to transmit RVF virus. All mosquito species tested were susceptible to RVF virus infection, with An. pharoensis and Ae. caspius being the most sensitive to infection. However, none of 12 An. pharoensis, including 10 with a disseminated infection, transmitted RVF virus by bite. In contrast, nearly all Cx. pipiens (87%, n = 15) and Cx. perexiguus (90%, n = 10) with a disseminated infection transmitted virus. Overall transmission rates for mosquitoes exposed to hamsters with a viremia ≥ 107 plaque-forming units/ml were Ae. caspius, 20% (n = 5); Cx. pipiens, 7% (n = 102); Cx. antennatus, 7% (n = 30); Cx. perexiguus, 11% (n = 9); and An. pharoensis, 0% (n = 7). Based on abundance, susceptibility to infection, ability to transmit virus, and feeding behavior, Ae. caspius appeared to be the most efficient vector of the Egyptian mosquitoes evaluated. While less susceptible than Ae. caspius, Cx. pipiens, Cx. antennatus, and Cx. perexiguus were also potential vectors during this RVF outbreak in Egypt.

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