Dual Host Infections: Enhanced Infectivity of Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus to Aedes Mosquitoes Mediated by Brugia Microfilariae

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  • Diagnostic Systems Division, U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Fort Detrick, Frederick, Maryland

When mosquitoes feed on a vertebrate host that is infected concurrently with virus and microfilariae (mf), both pathogens are ingested. If mf penetrate the mosquito midgut, a small portion of the ingested virus may disseminate directly into the mosquito hemocoel. This phenomenon, termed microfilarial enhancement of arboviral transmission, has the potential to enhance the infectivity of arboviruses to mosquitoes. We investigated whether concurrent ingestion of Brugia mf and eastern equine encephalitis virus would enhance the infectivity and subsequent transmissibility of the virus by Aedes mosquitoes. Trials with Ae. triseriatus and B. pahangi mf indicated that microfilarial enhancement was dose dependent. Both a sufficient number of penetrating mf and a sufficient viremia were required for enhancement to occur. Furthermore, studies with B. malayi and three species of Aedes indicated that under comparable conditions of host viremia and microfilaremia, microfilarial enhancement occurred in some mosquito species (i.e., Ae. aegypti and Ae. taeniorhynchus) but not in others (Ae. triseriatus). We suggest that certain key parameters determine whether dual virus/mf host infections will enhance arboviral infectivity to mosquitoes. These include species differences in the capacity of mf to penetrate the mosquito midgut, the amount of virus passing into the hemocoel during mf penetration, and the innate susceptibility of mosquitoes to hemocoelomically introduced virus.

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