Assessment of local mosquito species incriminates Aedes aegypti as the potential vector of zika virus in Australia

Hall-Mendelin, Sonja, Pyke, Alyssa T., Moore, Peter R., Mackay, Ian M., McMahon, Jamie L., Ritchie, Scott A., Taylor, Carmel T., Moore, Frederick A.J., and van den Hurk, Andrew F. (2016) Assessment of local mosquito species incriminates Aedes aegypti as the potential vector of zika virus in Australia. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 10 (9). e0004959. pp. 1-14.

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Background: Within the last 10 years Zika virus (ZIKV) has caused unprecedented epidemics of human disease in the nations and territories of the western Pacific and South America, and continues to escalate in both endemic and non-endemic regions. We evaluated the vector competence of Australian mosquitoes for ZIKV to assess their potential role in virus transmission.

Methodology/Principal Findings: Mosquitoes were exposed to infectious blood meals containing the prototype African ZIKV strain. After 14 days incubation at 28°C and high relative humidity, infection, dissemination and transmission rates were assessed. Infection in Culex annulirostris and Cx. sitiens could not be detected. 8% of Cx. quinquefasciatus were infected, but the virus did not disseminate in this species. Despite having infection rates > 50%, Aedes notoscriptus and Ae. vigilax did not transmit ZIKV. In contrast, Ae. aegypti had infection and transmission rates of 57% and 27%, respectively. In susceptibility trials, the virus dose required to infect 50% (ID₅₀) of Ae. aegypti was10⁶.⁴ tissue culture infectious dose₅₀ (TCID₅₀)/mL. Additionally, a threshold viral load within the mosquito of at least 10⁵.¹ TCID₅₀ equivalents/mL had to be reached before virus transmission occurred.

Conclusions/Significance: We confirmed Ae. aegypti to be the most likely mosquito vector of ZIKV in Australia, although the restricted distribution of this species will limit the receptive zone to northern Queensland where this species occurs. Importantly, the role in ZIKV transmission of Culex and other Aedes spp. tested will be negligible. Despite being the implicated vector, the relatively high ID₅₀ and need for a high titer disseminated infection in Ae. aegypti suggest that high mosquito population densities will be required to facilitate epidemic ZIKV transmission among the currently immunologically naïve human population in Australia.

Item ID: 45772
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1935-2735
Additional Information:

© 2016 Hall-Mendelin et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Funders: Forensic and Scientific Services (FSS), National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)
Projects and Grants: FSS research and development grant RSS15-003, NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship 1044698
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2016 23:06
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3107 Microbiology > 310706 Virology @ 50%
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4203 Health services and systems > 420315 One health @ 50%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920404 Disease Distribution and Transmission (incl. Surveillance and Response) @ 50%
92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920407 Health Protection and/or Disaster Response @ 50%
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