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Blood Sources of Mosquitoes Collected from Urban and Peri-Urban Environments in Eastern Australia with Species-Specific Molecular Analysis of Avian Blood Meals

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  • 1 Australian Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre for Emerging Infectious Disease, and School of Molecular and Microbial Sciences, University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Queensland, Australia; Department of Medical Entomology, University of Sydney, Westmead Hospital, New South Wales, Australia; Organic Chemistry, and Virology, Communicable Diseases Unit, Queensland Health Forensic and Scientific Services, Queensland, Australia; World Health Organization/World Health Organisation for Animal Health/Food and Agricultural Organization Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Leptospirosis, Communicable Diseases Unit, Queensland Health Forensic and Scientific Services, Coopers Plains, Australia; School of Public Health, Tropical Medicine and Rehabilitation Sciences, James Cook University, Smithfield, Queensland, Australia; Tropical Population Health Network, Queensland Health, Cairns, Queensland, Australia
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To identify the hosts of mosquitoes collected from urban and peri-urban habitats in eastern Australia, 1,180 blood fed mosquitoes representing 15 species were analyzed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and molecular techniques. Four common and epidemiologically important species could be classified according to their host-feeding patterns: Aedes aegypti was anthropophilic, Ae. vigilax was mammalophilic, Culex quinquefasciatus was ornithophilic, and Cx. annulirostris was opportunistic, readily feeding on birds and mammals. Mitochondrial cytochrome b DNA sequence data showed that more than 75% of avian blood meals identified from Cx. annulirostris collected from Brisbane, Newcastle, and Sydney originated from ducks (Order Anseriformes, Family Anatidae). More than 75% of avian blood meals from Cx. quinquefasciatus from Cairns belonged to one of three Passerine species, namely Sphecotheres vieilloti (figbird), Sturnus tristis (common myna), and Philemon buceroides (helmeted friarbird). This study demonstrates associations between vectors in Australia and vertebrate hosts of endemic and exotic arboviruses.

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