Assessing natural infection with Zika virus in the southern house mosquito, Culex quinquefasciatus, during 2016 in Puerto Rico

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The epidemic of Zika in the Western hemisphere has led to intense investigations of all species important in the transmission of Zika virus (ZikV), including putative mosquito vectors. Although evidence points to Stegomyia (= Aedes) (Diptera: Culicidae) mosquitoes as the primary vectors in nature among humans, there remains the possibility that other common mosquito species may be implicated in the rapid spread of the virus. Herein, field-caught Culex quinquefasciatus (Diptera: Culicidae) collected during June 2016 in different neighbourhoods in San Juan, Puerto Rico were examined for the presence of natural infection with ZikV. Stegomyiaaegypti (= Aedes aegypti) from the same locations were also analysed. None of the Cx. quinquefasciatus tested showed natural infection for ZikV, whereas S. aegypti tested positive at seven sites. The present results suggest that Cx. quinquefasciatus was not involved in the transmission of ZikV in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 2016.

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