Arbovirus Investigations in Argentina, 1977–1980

II. Arthropod Collections and Virus Isolations from Argentine Mosquitoes

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  • * Division of Vector-Borne Viral Diseases, Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control, Public Health Service, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, P.O. Box 2087, Fort Collins, Colorado 80522
  • Institute of Virology, Faculty of Medical Science, University of Cordoba, Estafeta 32, Cordoba, Argentina
  • Department of Vector Biology, Gorgas Memorial Laboratory, Apartado 6991, Panama 5, Republic of Panama

Prospective surveys for arboviruses were carried out in Santa Fe, Corrientes, and Chaco provinces, Argentina, aperiodically during 1977–1980. A total of 313,233 mosquitoes and 598 biting flies other than mosquitoes were collected and tested for virus in 5,197 and 45 pools, respectively. Forty virus strains were isolated, all from mosquitoes, as follows: Santa Fe Province: 4 Gamboa group viruses from Aedeomyia squamipennis, 1 strain each of St. Louis encephalitis virus from Culex pipiens quinquefasciatus and Culex (Culex) spp.; Corrientes Province: a single strain of a newly discovered Anopheles A serogroup virus, Las Maloyas, from Anopheles albitarsis; and Chaco Province: 4 Gamboa group viruses from Ad. squamipennis, 6 strains of new Bunyaviridae (1 Antequera, 1 Barranqueras, and 4 Resistencia) from Culex (Melanoconion) delpontei, 3 strains of a new subtype of western equine encephalitis virus and 1 strain of Para virus from the Cx. (Mel.) ocossa group, 12 strains of a newly discovered subtype (VI) of the Venezuelan equine encephalitis complex from Cx. (Mel.) delpontei, and 1 strain each from Ad. squamipennis, Aedes scapularis, Ae. spp., Cx. (Cux.) spp., Cx. (Mel.) ocossa group, Mansonia spp., and Psorophora spp. Bloodmeals from 265 engorged mosquitoes were identified by precipitin test. These data, coupled with data on engorgement rates for 25,995 mosquitoes from bait collections, provide information on the host feeding patterns of several mosquito species. This information is discussed, along with data on relative abundance of mosquito species, within the context of the vector relationships of the species from which viruses were isolated. The association of Cx. (Mel.) delpontei with 18 strains of 4 different viruses in Chaco Province, plus its catholic feeding habits, clearly indicate for the first time the importance of this species as an arbovirus vector.