Vector Competence of California Mosquitoes for California Encephalitis and California Encephalitis-Like Viruses

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  • Department of Biomedical and Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of California, Department of Entomology, University of California, Berkeley, California

Mosquitoes collected from coastal, inland valley, and alpine locations in California were evaluated for their experimental vector competence for two viruses in the California serogroup (Bunyaviridae: Bunyavirus). Aedes squamiger, a coastal salt marsh mosquito, was an efficient vector of a California encephalitis (CE)-like virus isolated from its habitat (89% of the pledget-fed females became infected and 61% transmitted virus). Aedes dorsalis, a coastal mosquito, and Ae. melanimon, an inland valley mosquito, were competent vectors of prototype CE virus (98% and 100% of the pledget-fed females became infected and 56% and 30%, respectively, transmitted virus). Aedes squamiger and Ae. dorsalis transmitted both viruses vertically to one or more of 20 of their progeny. Culiseta inornata was susceptible to infection with both viruses, but 5% or less transmitted virus perorally. Alpine mosquitoes, Ae. cataphylla, Ae. increpitus, and Ae. tahoensis, became infected with both CE and CE-like viruses, but 3% or less transmitted virus. All species of mosquitoes were more efficient vectors of both viruses following intrathoracic inoculation than following pledget feeding, suggesting the presence of mesenteronal barriers.