Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 22693557
PLoS ONE 2012;7(5):e36757
West Nile fever (WNF) and Rift Valley fever (RVF) are emerging diseases causing epidemics outside their natural range of distribution. West Nile virus (WNV) circulates widely and harmlessly in the old world among birds as amplifying hosts, and horses and humans as accidental dead-end hosts. Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) re-emerges periodically in Africa causing massive outbreaks. In the Maghreb, eco-climatic and entomologic conditions are favourable for WNV and RVFV emergence. Both viruses are transmitted by mosquitoes belonging to the Culex pipiens complex. We evaluated the ability of different populations of Cx. pipiens from North Africa to transmit WNV and the avirulent RVFV Clone 13 strain. Mosquitoes collected in Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia during the summer 2010 were experimentally infected with WNV and RVFV Clone 13 strain at titers of 10(7.8) and 10(8.5) plaque forming units/mL, respectively. Disseminated infection and transmission rates were estimated 14-21 days following the exposure to the infectious blood-meal. We show that 14 days after exposure to WNV, all mosquito st developed a high disseminated infection and were able to excrete infectious saliva. However, only 69.2% of mosquito strains developed a disseminated infection with RVFV Clone 13 strain, and among them, 77.8% were able to deliver virus through saliva. Thus, Cx. pipiens from the Maghreb are efficient experimental vectors to transmit WNV and to a lesser extent, RVFV Clone 13 strain. The epidemiologic importance of our findings should be considered in the light of other parameters related to mosquito ecology and biology.