A comparison of the susceptibility of Culicoides imicola and C. bolitinos to oral infection with eight serotypes of epizootic haemorrhagic disease virus

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The mechanisms involved in introduction, maintenance and perpetuation of epizootic haemorrhagic disease virus (EHDV) in South Africa are not fully understood. This paper reports on the susceptibility of South African livestock associated Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) species to oral infection with eight EHDV serotypes. Virus was recovered from eight of 17 field-collected Culicoides species 10 days after oral feeding on blood/virus mixtures. Six EHDV serotypes were recovered from C. (Avaritia) imicola Kieffer, and seven serotypes were recovered from C. (A.) bolitinos Meiswinkel. Virus recovery rates in C. imicola ranged from 0.4% for EHDV 2 to 14.4% for EHDV 7, and in C. bolitinos from 0.6% for EHDV 6 to 12.3% for EHDV 2. There was a significant difference in virus recovery rates between serotypes in both species. Other Culicoides species that yielded EHDV after 10 days extrinsic incubation included C. (Meijerehelea) leucostictus Kieffer, C. (Culicoides) magnus Colaço, C. (Beltranmyia) nivosus de Meillon, C. (A.) gulbenkiani Caeiro, C. (Hoffmania) zuluensis de Meillon and C. onderstepoortensis Fiedler. Culicoides midges shown in this study to be susceptible to oral infection with EHDV are widely distributed in South Africa but differ considerably in their abundance, host preference and breeding sites.

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