Culex flavivirus infection in a Culex pipiens mosquito colony and its effects on vector competence for Rift Valley fever phlebovirus

Sandra Talavera, Lotty Birnberg, Ana I. Nuñez, Francesc Muñoz-Muñoz, Ana Vázquez, Núria Busquets

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    15 Citations (Scopus)


    © 2018 The Author(s). Background: Rift Valley fever is a mosquito-borne zoonotic disease that affects domestic ruminants and humans. Culex flavivirus is an insect-specific flavivirus that naturally exists in field mosquito populations. The influence of Culex flavivirus on Rift Valley fever phlebovirus (RVFV) vector competence of Culex pipiens has not been investigated. Methods: Culex flavivirus infection in a Cx. pipiens colony was studied by Culex flavivirus oral feeding and intrathoracical inoculation. Similarly, vector competence of Cx. pipiens infected with Culex flavivirus was evaluated for RVFV. Infection, dissemination, transmission rates and transmission efficiency of Culex flavivirus-infected and non-infected Cx. pipiens artificially fed with RVFV infected blood were assessed. Results: Culex flavivirus was able to infect Cx. pipiens after intrathoracically inoculation in Cx. pipiens mosquitos but not after Culex flavivirus oral feeding. Culex flavivirus did not affect RVFV infection, dissemination and transmission in Cx. pipiens mosquitoes. RVFV could be detected from saliva of both the Culex flavivirus-positive and negative Cx. pipiens females without significant differences. Moreover, RVFV did not interfere with the Culex flavivirus infection in Cx. pipiens mosquitoes. Conclusions: Culex flavivirus infected and non-infected Cx. pipiens transmit RVFV. Culex flavivirus existing in field-collected Cx. pipiens populations does not affect their vector competence for RVFV. Culex flavivirus may not be an efficient tool for RVFV control in mosquitoes.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number310
    JournalParasites and Vectors
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 23 May 2018


    • Culex flavivirus
    • Culex pipiens
    • Rift Valley fever phlebovirus
    • Transmission
    • Vector competence


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