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Occurrence of avian Plasmodium and West Nile virus in Culex species in Wisconsin

, : Occurrence of avian Plasmodium and West Nile virus in Culex species in Wisconsin. Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association 26(1): 24-31

The occurrence of multiple pathogens in mosquitoes and birds could affect the dynamics of disease transmission. We collected adult Culex pipiens and Cx. restuans (Cx. pipiens/restuans hereafter) from sites in Wisconsin and tested them for West Nile virus (WNV) and for avian malaria (Plasmodium). Gravid Cx. pipiens/restuans were tested for WNV using a commercial immunoassay, the RAMP WNV test, and positive results were verified by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. There were 2 WNV-positive pools of Cx. pipiens/restuans in 2006 and 1 in 2007. Using a bias-corrected maximum likelihood estimation, the WNV infection rate for Cx. pipiens/restuans was 5.48/1,000 mosquitoes in 2006 and 1.08/1,000 mosquitoes in 2007. Gravid Cx. pipiens or Cx. restuans were tested individually for avian Plasmodium by a restriction enzyme-based assay. Twelve mosquitoes were positive for avian Plasmodium (10.0%), 2 were positive for Haemoproteus, and 3 were positive for Leucocytozoon. There were 4 mixed infections, with mosquitoes positive for > 1 of the hemosporidian parasites. This work documents a high rate of hemosporidian infection in Culex spp. and illustrates the potential for co-infections with other arboviruses in bird-feeding mosquitoes and their avian hosts. In addition, hemosporidian infection rates may be a useful tool for investigating the ecological dynamics of Culex/avian interactions.


PMID: 20402347

DOI: 10.2987/09-5893.1

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