Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 27598421
PLoS Negl Trop Dis 2016 Sep;10(9):e0004993
BACKGROUND: The Americas have suffered a dramatic epidemic of Zika since May in 2015, when Zika virus (ZIKV) was first detected in Brazil. Mosquitoes belonging to subgenus Stegomyia of Aedes, particularly Aedes aegypti, are considered the primary vectors of ZIKV. However, the rapid spread of the virus across the continent raised several concerns about the transmission dynamics, especially about potential mosquito vectors. The purpose of this work was to assess the vector competence of the house mosquito Culex quinquefasciatus from an epidemic Zika area, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for local circulating ZIKV isolates.
METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Culex quinquefasciatus and Ae. aegypti (positive control of ZIKV infection) from Rio de Janeiro were orally exposed to two ZIKV strains isolated from human cases from Rio de Janeiro (Rio-U1 and Rio-S1). Fully engorged mosquitoes were held in incubators at 26 ± 1°C, 12 h:12 h light:dark cycle and 70 ± 10% humidity. For each combination mosquito population-ZIKV strain, 30 specimens were examined for infection, dissemination and transmission rates, at 7, 14 and 21 days after virus exposure by analyzing body (thorax plus abdomen), head and saliva respectively. Infection rates were minimal to completely absent in all Cx. quinquefasciatus-virus combinations and were significantly high for Ae. aegypti. Moreover, dissemination and transmission were not detected in any Cx. quinquefasciatus mosquitoes whatever the incubation period and the ZIKV isolate. In contrast, Ae. aegypti ensured high viral dissemination and moderate to very high transmission.
CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The southern house mosquito Cx. quinquefasciatus from Rio de Janeiro was not competent to transmit local strains of ZIKV. Thus, there is no experimental evidence that Cx. quinquefasciatus likely plays a role in the ZIKV transmission. Consequently, at least in Rio, mosquito control to reduce ZIKV transmission should remain focused on Ae. aegypti.