Evidence for infection but not transmission of Zika virus by Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae) from Spain.Parasit Vectors 2019; 12(1):204PV
A number of mosquito-borne viruses such as dengue virus (DENV), Usutu virus (USUV), West Nile virus (WNV) are autochthonously transmitted in Europe and six invasive mosquito species have been detected in this temperate region. This has increased the risk for the emergence of further mosquito-borne diseases. However, there is a paucity of information on whether European populations of invasive mosquito species are competent to transmit arboviruses. In this study, the susceptibility of Aedes albopictus originating from Spain and a laboratory-adapted colony of Aedes aegypti, was assessed for infection with, and transmission of Zika virus (ZIKV). Vertical transmission in both species was also assessed.
Aedes albopictus colonised from eggs collected in Spain and an existing colony of Ae. aegypti were fed infectious blood meals containing ZIKV (Polynesian strain) at 1.6 × 107 PFU/ml. Blood-fed mosquitoes were separated and maintained at 20 °C or 25 °C. Legs, saliva and bodies were sampled from specimens at 7, 14 and 21 days post-infection (dpi) in order to determine infection, dissemination and transmission rates. All samples were analysed by real-time RT-PCR using primers targeting the ZIKV NS1 gene.
At 14 dpi and 21 dpi, ZIKV RNA was detected in the bodies of both species at both temperatures. However, live virus only was detected in the saliva of Ae. aegypti at 25 °C with a transmission rate of 44%. No evidence for virus expectoration was obtained for Ae. albopictus under any condition. Notably, ZIKV RNA was not detectable in the saliva of Ae. aegypti at 20 °C after 21 days. No vertical transmission of ZIKV was detected in this study.
Experimental infection of Ae. albopictus colonized from Spain with ZIKV did not result in expectoration of virus in saliva in contrast to results for Ae. aegypti. No evidence of vertical transmission of virus was observed in this study. This suggests that this strain of Ae. albopictus is not competent for ZIKV transmission under the conditions tested.