Mosquito isolates of Ross River virus from Cairns, Queensland, Australia.

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  • 1 Australian Centre for International and Tropical Health and Nutrition, The University of Queensland, Medical School, Herston.

During 1996-1998 60,619 mosquitoes were collected around Cairns, Australia and processed for Alphavirus isolation. Thirty-three isolates of Ross River (RR) virus were made from 9 species, Aedes imprimens, Aedes kochi, Aedes notoscriptus, Aedes vigilax, Culex annulirostris, Culex gelidus, Mansonia septempunctata, Verrallina (formerly Aedes) carmenti, and Verrallina lineatus. Attempts to isolate RR virus from 121 Aedes aegypti were unsuccessful. Twenty-six (79%) of the isolates came from within 1 km of a colony of spectacled flying-foxes, Pteropus conspicillatus. The minimum infection rate for these mosquitoes was 1.0 compared with 0.2 per 1,000 for mosquitoes trapped at all other sites. Ross River virus has not previously been isolated from Ae. imprimens, Cx. gelidus, Ma. septempunctata, Ve. carmenti, or Ve. lineatus. This is also the first isolation of an arbovirus from Cx. gelidus in Australia. In conclusion, the vector status of Ve. carmenti, Ae. aegypti and Ma. septempunctata warrants further study. This study also provides evidence that P. conspicillatus may be a reservoir host.