Vector competence of northern and southern European Culex pipiens pipiens mosquitoes for West Nile virus across a gradient of temperatures

C.B.F. Vogels*, G.P. Göertz, G.P. Pijlman, C.J.M. Koenraadt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In Europe, West Nile virus (WNV) outbreaks have been limited to southern and central European countries. However, competent mosquito vectors and susceptible bird hosts are present in northern Europe. Differences in temperature and vector competence of mosquito populations may explain the absence of WNV outbreaks in northern Europe. The aim of the present study was to directly compare vector competence of northern and southern European Culex pipiens (Cx. p.) pipiens mosquitoes for WNV across a gradient of temperatures. WNV infection and transmission rates were determined for two Cx. p. pipiens populations originating from The Netherlands and Italy, respectively. Mosquitoes were orally exposed by providing an infectious bloodmeal, or by injecting WNV (lineage 2) in the thorax, followed by 14-day incubation at 18, 23, or 28°C. No differences in infection or transmission rates were found between the Cx. p. pipiens populations with both infection methods, but WNV transmission rates were significantly higher at temperatures above 18°C. The absence of WNV outbreaks in northern Europe cannot be explained by differences in vector competence between Cx. p. pipiens populations originating from northern and southern Europe. This study suggests that low temperature is a key limiting factor for WNV transmission.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)358-364
JournalMedical and Veterinary Entomology
Volume31
Issue number4
Early online date2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017

Keywords

  • Arbovirus
  • Culex pipiens complex
  • Infection
  • Italy
  • Northern house mosquito
  • The Netherlands
  • Transmission

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