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Host Selection of Potential West Nile Virus Vectors in Puerto Barrios, Guatemala, 2007

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  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Vector-Borne Diseases Arbovirus Diseases Branch, Fort Collins, Colorado; Centro de Estudios en Salud Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, Guatemala City, Guatemala

The selection of vertebrate hosts by Culex mosquitoes relative to West Nile virus (WNV) transmission in neotropical countries such as Guatemala is not described. This study determined the feeding patterns of Cx. quinquefasciatus and Cx. nigripalpus and estimated the relative contribution of two common and frequently infected wild bird species, Turdus grayi and Quiscalus mexicanus, to WNV transmission. Engorged mosquitoes were collected from rural and urban habitats after the dry and wet seasons in the Department of Izabal in 2007. Host selection by Cx. nigripalpus varied significantly between urban and rural habitats. Both Cx. quinquefasciatus and Cx. nigripalpus fed predominantly on chickens and other domestic animals. Blood meals from wild birds were rare, accounting for 1.1% of blood meals identified from Cx. quinquefasciatus and 6.5% of blood meals from Cx. nigripalpus. Transmission of WNV by these two mosquito species may be dampened by extensive feeding on reservoir-incompetent hosts.

Author Notes

* Address correspondence to Rebekah C. Kading, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, Arbovirus Diseases Branch, 3150 Rampart Road, Fort Collins, CO 80521. E-mail: fxk7@cdc.gov

Financial support: This research was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cooperative Agreement U50/CCU021236-01 between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Universidad de Valle del Guatemala, and a Robert E. Shope International Fellowship in Infectious Diseases award.

Authors' addresses: Rebekah C. Kading and Nicholas Komar, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Vector-Borne and Infectious Diseases, Arbovirus Diseases Branch, Fort Collins, CO, E-mails: fxk7@cdc.gov and nck6@cdc.gov. Ana Silvia Gonzales Reiche, Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, E-mail: agonzalez@ces.uvg.edu.gt. Maria Eugenia Morales-Betoulle, Viral and Zoonotic Diseases Research Program, US Naval Medical Research Unit No. 3 (NAMRU-3), Cairo, Egypt, E-mail: maria.morales.ctr.gt@med.navy.mil.

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