Vectorial status of the Asian tiger mosquito Aedes albopictus of La Réunion Island for Zika virus

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La Réunion Island has been the scene of unusually large epidemics of dengue (DENV) and chikungunya (CHIKV) viruses with Aedes albopictus Diptera, Culicidae (Skuse, 1894) as the sole vector. The emergence of Zika virus (ZIKV) in 2007 and the spread of the epidemic strain of the Asian genotype through the Pacific region and the Americas, mainly via the vector Aedes aegypti (Linnaeus, 1762), has raised concern about its possible introduction to, and transmission in, Ae. albopictus-infested areas. We performed an experimental oral infection with the Asian genotype of ZIKV in Ae. albopictus from La Réunion and found a strong midgut barrier to dissemination. This result is discussed in the light of previous vector competence assays for DENV and CHIKV performed by our team on other Ae. albopictus populations from La Réunion.

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